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Frederique Lavoipierre, founder of Insecta-Palooza, will speak tonight at Coffee Catz (6761 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol) at 6:30 p.m., as part of Science Buzz Cafe, a very cool ongoing endeavor devoted to “bringing science and curiosity back into culture.” Admission is a cup of coffee, a bowl or chili or chili or some other yummy thing to eat or drink.

Frederique’s talk will focus on the remarkable techniques insects have developed to protect themselves from the many dangers they face. They use mimicry, masquerade, camouflage and chemical warfare to stay alive. I can’t confirm that she will be bringing any of her insect pals but when she came onto my radio show, Mouthful, she did not come alone. She brought some of my favorite insects, including both adult and baby Walking Sticks.

It is easy for a Walking Stick to hide in plain sight.

If you’ve never given insects much thought beyond getting rid of ants and avoiding wasps, I promise you will find this evening fascinating.

Frederique, who lives in Sebastopol, has just accepted a job at the Santa Barbara Botantic Garden. She’ll live part time in Santa Barbara but will continue to consult for Sonoma State University’s Nature Preserves, too. She writes a Garden Allies column, now in its seventh year, for Pacific Horticulture Magazine. She has an MS in Biology from SSU.

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