Palm Beach Atlantic University

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August 02, 2015

Special Events & Opportunities

Great American Bug Race

The "Annual Great American Bug Race" is held each year at "Orthoptera Downs," a specially designated place on the PBA Campus. Usually attended by several hundred people, this unusual insect-racing event attracts media, such as the Florida Leader-UF (Best Homecoming Event for three different years), CNN, local radio and TV stations, and print media coverage.

The event typically is held on a Wednesday afternoon during Homecoming week. Cost is minimal, $1 for registration and 50 cents for a bug--or bring your own bug. Commemorative T-shirts are available at a nominal cost.

 Two sets of concentric tracks are set up, where roach coaches gather in the inner circle, placing their contestants under a glass bowl on the outside perimeter. At a signal from Dr. Ray Waldner, professor of biology, contestants are released. The first bug to cross the finish line as deemed by the judges is the winner.


      Nathan Clifford checks out the competition while Professor of Biology Dr. Gary Goss readies his bug during the Great American Bug Race.

Judges are recruited and trained by Donna Hopkins, PBA assistant professor of mathematics. Roach coaches are allowed one entry. Anyone can participate. Prizes in two categories (students/faculty, staff, other) include:

Grand Prize: $100
1st Place/each category $50
2nd Place/each category $25
3rd Place/each category $10

The Science Club has developed a unique set of rules for coaches to follow:

  • true insects only, no threatened, endangered or non-native species
  • contestant (bug) must walk across the finish line (no jumping or flying). No hopping or human intervention is permitted
  • bugs must be large enough to be easily visible, no fleas or mites allowed
  • bugs that eat other contestants during the race are disqualified
  • modifications to bugs must be kept to a minimum, no extra wings or legs, or wing clippings are allowed
  • coaches may not wear spiked shoes or pumps to crush the competition unfairly and bugs must operate on bare "feet" only
  • use of steroids or any other drugs or foreign substances is strictly prohibited, suspiciously acting bugs may be randomly tested for drug or alcohol use
  • above all, have fun!!!




Come join us for our "Natural History of the Galapagos Islands" course that includes a 10-day trip to the Galapagos, offered (depending on student interest) during even spring semesters.

The course focuses on how the Galapagos Archipelago formed (and is still forming,) how it was colonized, the meteorological and oceanographic factors that affect the Islands and the unique adaptations and features displayed by the Archipelago's biota.

The course culminates with a 10-day trip to the Galapagos, which is located approximately 600 miles off the Pacific Coast of Ecuador. You'll live aboard a yacht while observing and experiencing what you have learned in the classroom. The following photos are from a recent PBA Galapagos Trip.


Everglades Trip

One of the world's natural treasures is located in PBA's backyard! Our class "Natural History of the Everglades Watershed - BIO 4954" provides an overview of the aquatic systems that composed the historic Everglades watershed, including the Kissimmee River, Lake Okeechobee, the Water Conservation Areas, Everglades National Park and Florida Bay.

Numerous field trips, including camping in Everglades National Park, allow students to experience firsthand the natural beauty of the Everglades, as well as gain experience with aquatic research techniques.  


Teachers Teaching with Technology Conference (T3)


"Teachers Teaching with Technology" Regional Conferences are designed to help integrate TI Technology into the classroom. Great for both new and experienced users of TI Technology, each session is full of ideas to take back to the classroom.     

901 S. Flagler Drive
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
888-GO-TO-PBA 888-468-6722