Butterfly counts and money

Christopher Majka nextug at is.dal.ca
Fri Jun 27 09:37:17 EDT 1997


On Fri, 27 Jun 1997, Dawn, Douglas wrote:

> Some observations on this issue:


> Why I might not agree that "vanity" be an appropriate description for
> the time, money and effort one puts into contributing to science (any
> more than a mother who feels satisfaction upon her baby recognizing her
> as "Mom"), would it not be logical to assign ALL the cost solely in the
> sale of the publication, which drives the cost and only exists thanks to
> the contributors?
> The system could be something like this: 1- estimate total publication
> cost for next year.  2- spread over sales this year 3- put difference in
> bank account managed by NABA/Xerces.  4- solicit tax deductable
> contributions to start program, or phase in by progressive reduction of
> $3. (I assume the current $3 is tax deductable??).
> Not that anyone anywhere with the resources to count and identify
> butterflies couldn't ante up the $3.  I think this is clearly that some
> people are having problems with the concept which could be viewed as
> having a flawed method for assigning cost to those creating the value to
> begin with.


In my previous communique I was principally using the notions of 'vanity'
and to 'ante up' as humorous ironic counterpoint.

The issue, I think, might best be summarized (from the standpoint of a
participant) as:

"You want me to contribute a whole day of work, out of the goodness of my
heart, collecting data for the benefit of others *and* you want me to pay
for it?!"

In other words, such programs rely entirely on the goodwill of volunteers.
Anyone who has ever worked with volunteers (and who wants to keep them!)
knows that:

a) its important to make them feel valued;
b) its important to try and reward them somehow in some small way for what
they do; and
c) its important not to tax them too much. 

In an ideal world we should be providing them with a lapel pin (worth >
$3.00) in thanks rather than asking them to contribute additional cash.

I'm sympathetic with the situation of organizations and journals viz
publications costs. Maybe, however, the better long-term solution to such
a situations is, if the information being gathered really is considered
valuable, to find some form of sponsorship to make it happen.

The fundraiser in me says; "There is ideal opportunity for a corporate
sponsorship here, to pay for the publication costs of the issue in which
the results are published."


a) The work being done is valuable;
b) There is a large public involvement in the process
c) The costs would be minimal (on the scale of any corporate PR endeavor).

Perhaps some company, interested in showing some environmental awareness,
would contribute publication costs (& lapel pins for participants!) in
return for its logo on the final publication and the opportunity to say.
"Evian Spring Water supports work towards butterfly conservation.", etc.

Has NABA ever investigated this?


Christopher Majka


Christopher Majka             Internet: <nextug at is.dal.ca>
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada            <aa051 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Electronic Resources on Lepidoptera Website:
URL = http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Environment/NHR/lepidoptera.html
	Co-founder: sci.bio.entomology.lepidoptera

The caterpillar on the leaf, repeats to thee thy mother's grief.
Kill not the moth nor butterfly, for the Last Judgement draweth nigh.
                                        -- WILLIAM BLAKE 1757-1827

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