To Collect or not to collect?

lday at lday at
Sat Mar 7 23:18:54 EST 1998

>> Now I have children, two wonderful boys, and one
>> is just getting into that age of curiosity. Has society changed? Is
>> "collecting" the politically incorrect thing to do? 
>On the other hand, collecting is still just fine, but there should be a
>reason, other than killing insects.  Your fond memories of running
>through the fields can be passed-on for the adventure and fun of
>observation, and if there is a reason, for collecting.  

I (gently) disagree.  I remember collecting as a kid just for the sake of 
having new specimens.  It seems harmless to me.  Of course, all I 
could catch were really common things.  My experience was that it 
led to a longterm interest in bugs that I wouldn't have pursued
if I hadn't had this initial motivation (of owning specimens and 
adding cool new stuff to my collection).   Gradually my reasons and
motivations changed, but I didn't forget how magical it was to catch
and mount something new and big and colorful, or how much it mattered
to me to have a lot of different species of butterflies around.

I guess what kind of guidance you give would depend on their age.  
If you teach them how to find and rear caterpillars, I bet they'd get
a lot out of that, and killing the bug wouldn't be the main point.
It does seem odd that owning something, live or dead, gave me more of 
a connection than just observing it, but it did.   Rearing is the best
though - if I'd been able to do that as a kid, I'd have been in heaven.


Liz Day
LDAY at 
Indianapolis, Indiana, central USA - 40 N latitude, zone 5.

More information about the Leps-l mailing list