Forrest Earl sat at Lime Hollow Nature Center one day when he noticed a tick crawling around the rim of his coffee cup.
Earl, president of the board of directors at Lime Hollow, suggested to members of a fitness group last summer about having an event centered around the insect to educate the public.
“It started off as a quirky, zany idea,” said Glenn Reisweber, executive director of Lime Hollow.
But the idea became serious quick.
Tick Fest will be May 4 at Lime Hollow in Cortlandville.
“The real thing for us is education through entertainment,” Earl said.
Recently, Earl has seen news media coverage of ticks increasing and he along with others at Lime Hollow want to get information out to the masses.
“We want people to be educated,” he said. “We don’t want people to be afraid of the outdoors.”
The more people know, the better equipped they can be, Reisweber said. Then they can better defend themselves and better enjoy being outside.
“Don’t let ticks suck the fun out of nature,” Reisweber said.
On May 4, people can expect both education and games at the event, Reisweber said. Education will include the life cycle of ticks; locations the insect is found; and measures to take to stay safe. Games will be family-oriented carnival-style ones, Reisweber said.
Ticks carry and can transmit Lyme disease, an infection that, left untreated, can cause health problems to joints, the heart and the nervous system, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Symptoms of Lyme disease include a bulls-eye shaped rash; joint pain; chills; fever; and fatigue.
If you go
What: Tick Fest
When: May 4
Where: Lime Hollow Nature Center, Cortlandville
Why: To have fun and learn how to cope with ticks in the woods
The Cortland County Health Department and SUNY Cortland Health Department will work with Lime Hollow on the event.
Derek Green, a public health sanitarian for the Cortland County Health Department, will be presenting and answering questions about ticks at the event.
“Any information that we can get out to the public concerning ticks and Lyme disease is crucial to public health,” he said.
Reisweber connected tick awareness to another type of education he remembered from a generation ago — the use of sunscreen.
Reisweber recalled the early push for use of sunscreen to protect people from sunburn. That was a generation ago, however, the thought process remains the same. “Now the new generation has a tick issue,” he said. “It’s the same as a generation ago.”