Gamified Entomology Workshops & Ecuador EcoTourism. Hai – I’m Nancy

                              Written by Nancy Miorelli

You know – I was supposed to write an introduction after we got back from our hiatus in May. But then there were “murder hornets“, and the BLM movement, and then people putting up fake wasp decoys, and well … it was a lot to cover. So Now we’re in August and …

So here I am!

Hai – my name is Nancy. I’m an entomologist with my Master’s from the University of Georgia, living in Ecuador.

I normally conduct ecological tours in Ecuador focused on insects, ecology, conservation, and also Ecuadorian local culture. through my business SciBugs.

A girl sitting on a front of a small boat in a lake with tree tops coming out of the water. It's called the "Floating Forest"

My Ecuador, Entomology, EcoTours are 100% personalized! You tell me where you wanna go – and I get you there. And do all the translation. And connect you to cool locals. And toss you bug facts from the back of canoe.

But, Ecotourism is kind of not a thing that is happening in 2020, so I’ve started working on my YouTube channel again and have started working on gamified entomololgy workshops.

This is the Entomology Workshop in Question.
Chem-Tales: The Stories of Arthropods, their Chemical Weapons, and their Every Day Lives!
Psst: Signup closes August 14th, 2020.

Gamified Entomology Workshops

As soon as that pandemic hit, I was obviously unable to do tourism. I had a couple clients who I helped escort out of the country ASAP and – well – I’ve just accepted the fact that I’m probably going to be forcefully on break from tourism during the rest of 2020 and maybe even part of 2021.

But that doesn’t mean that I won’t be busy! Working with a former student, Audrey, who is now earning her PhD at the University of Texas in gamified learning, we are creating gamified entomology workshops.

We started with a workshop called “Tricky Tricksters” where we combined the use of video series along with free-form responses to activity prompts and tracked everyone’s progress with badges.

I hand drew all the badges and each one was associated with different activities, bonus materials, or collaboration efforts.

A certificate filled with hand drawn insects indicating the participants completion of the course

This was the start of something new and interesting! After successfully creating a gamified, week long workshop in under a month, Audrey and I decided to do it again! But gave ourselves more time! And thus – Chem-Tales was born.

Even if you’re not interested in taking my gamified workshops, feel free to reach out if you’re looking to implement gaming into your classroom.

Chem-Tales: Looking at Arthropod Every Day Lives Through the Lens of their Chemical Weapons.

An entomology workshop where you turn bug biology into a playable game!

We’ll be covering in Chem-Tales just a few of these things. And have expert guests including the other two writers of Ask an Entomologist. Joe Ballenger and Joanie Mars.

  • Beetles that blast hot acid out of their butt.
  • Millipedes that can kill pigeons.
  • Moths that house hydrogen cyanide.
  • Beetles that give poisonous love potions to their lovers.
  • Bullet ants that have the worst insect sting.
  • And fungus that make cicadas butts fall off.

Here’s a short teaser trailer highlighting Chapter 2: The Pedes.

Looking at two similar appearing critters – the centipedes and the millipedes. But actually – they couldn’t be more worlds apart! Everything from their behavior to the chemicals their using – find how these many legged crawlers couldn’t be more different.

Hear from Derek Hennen, our millipede expert!

These are just some of the topics we are covering in Chem-Tales.
And we’re doing that through a series of video chapters that include recorded videos, live videos with experts, and interviews with experts.

But the most exciting thing to me is that we are making a PLAYABLE CARD GAME! That we mail to your house! The participants turn an arthropod into a card that can then be played in a real physical card game. In addition to the pretty deck we send you with the rules, you’ll also receive a brief write up of every arthropods featured! I’m pretty stoked.

Here are just a collection of some of the badges I’ve designed to track progress for everything from creating the arthropod cards, to helping each other out, to collaborating, to watching specific videos. There’s more too! And some even stay hidden until the content is unlocked and discoverable!

We’ll that’s me and the projects I’m currently focused on. Even if Chem-Tales doesn’t sound like your jam, but you want to learn about bugs feel free to join my learning community THE SCIHIVE on Facebook. I got live every Friday to talk about some aspect of bugs and we post lots of bug art, memes, photos, and ask questions.


I’m an entomologist who decided to make my money in Ecuadorian tourism which was a great idea until the pandemic of 2020. Maybe it’ll be a great idea in the future but for right now I’ve switched gears into designing and hosting gamified entomology workshops. Now this was enough about me, and I can’t wait until next month when I’ll start writing about bugs again.

Let’s Chat More!

A girl in a beanie with green hair, arcrylic nails holding a giant earthworm measuring about 3ft in length and shes about to lick it
I’ll get back to the cloud forest soon!

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