Origins of NABA's Membership, etc.

Mike Quinn mqnature at
Fri Jun 18 18:34:50 EDT 1999

Dear Lepidopterists,

According to NABA literature, one third of their members came to the
organization because of an inherent interest in butterflies; another third
of the NABA members were first interested in gardening and secondarily
acquired an interest in butterflies; and the final third of the members
were birders first. If this is true, and I have no reason to doubt it, then
I believe this gives NABA a strong foundation to build on. It's a bit
ironic that the only opposition to NABA seems to come from other butterfly

Dear John,

I think that NABA readily does acknowledge that "butterflying" is in its
infancy. In fact, Glassberg's editorial in the current issue of "American
Butterflies" draws parallels between the start of "birding" and where
butterflying is now.

Dear Chris,

Yes, there are a lot of soon to be lost places in the world, but are we
reduced to thinking that collecting a handful of specimens is enough?
Instead of 'collecting it before it's gone,' why not work towards saving a
portion of these fragmented ecosystems. (Yes I did grow up in the 60's.) If
I live to be 90, I don't want to say to a child just born, "look at this
tiny insect that I saved for your generation from the last Red Wood Forest
before it was cut down." Somehow, I don't think the child would be much

I agree that collecting is a good way to get started in lepidopterology,
but I am not entirely comfortable saying that collecting is "the best way"
to enter this field of study. I've learned a lot from the photographs that
I've taken. I often see something in the photo that I didn't notice while
in the field. Also, one can not wave a specimen in front of a large
audience full of novices and get the same effect that projecting a slide
will give.

Now if someone says that collecting is the best way to study beetles or
micro-lepidoptera, they would get no argument from me. Collecting is nearly
the *only* way to study these diverse groups.

Chris, please know that while I have argued these counter points
forcefully, I have nothing but the greatest respect for your knowledge and
opinions. I would venture that our opinions are more alike than not.

Respectfully, Mike Quinn

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