NOT the collecting debate :-)

Mark Walker MWalker at
Mon Jun 21 14:12:53 EDT 1999

Well, while I wouldn't claim to be a professional entomologist, I know that
I take few things as serious as I do my passion for insects.  There is no
question in my case that all of this was stimulated and nurtured by my
fascination with insects as a young child.  Before I was 11 years old, I had
established an impressive collection of insects from two continents that
were all personally netted/captured.  The neighborhood kids would all bring
stuff to me for identification, and biology teachers would have me come in
for presentations.  Several friends and I established a bug club, and we all
anticipated the other's return following summer vacations.  Interestingly, I
knew few people who were more concerned about the well being of insects in
general (although "bug murderer" was as common a label then as it is today).

Between the ages of 14 and 34, I was completely divorced from the hobby.
Entomology wasn't very cool, and in 1973, cool was all I wanted to be.
Instead, I grew my hair long and joined a rock and roll band.  Entomology
wasn't very promising economically, either, but I wasn't thinking about that
so much then anyway.  When I rediscovered it, it was like my lost calling.
I can't put into words how much peace and joy I've received since taking it
up again (about 5 years ago).  You know when you are doing just exactly what
you're supposed to be doing.  I wouldn't have this joy today, if not for the
exploits driven by childhood inquisition and curiosity (and empty fields and
wide open spaces).

Mark Walker.
Mission Viejo, CA

> -----Original Message-----
> From: triocomp at [mailto:triocomp at]
> Sent: Monday, June 21, 1999 12:02 PM
> To: leps-l at
> Subject: NOT the collecting debate :-)
> Hi
> The recent discussions about NABA and the pro/anti collecting debate
> go me thinking. So I thought I would post the idea here and see what
> you think.
> My question is - are children who are allowed to collect butterfies
> more likely to grow into more serious entomologists - either
> professional or amateur? 
> I started collecting insects in match-boxes when I was a child and my
> interest has since developed from butterfly collecting to photograhphy
> through to moth trapping, conservation work, invertebrate recording &
> monitoring and more recently I have started to become interested in
> diptera & parasitic hymenoptera - where collecting is an essential
> part of getting to grips with the groups. I haven't collected
> butterflies in the UK since I was a kid and I have all but stopped
> taking moth vouchers - but I still believe that I wouldn't be as
> interested in general entomology if I hadn't collected insects as a
> child.
> My worry is that although butterfly 'watchers' are good for butterfly
> conservation, 'entomology' as a hobby still needs people who are going
> to go further and progress to the, more difficult groups like moths,
> flies and wasps. 
> What do you think?
> Chris R.

More information about the Leps-l mailing list