Butterfly book and supplies info needed...

Mark Walker MWalker at gensym.com
Mon Apr 3 18:04:18 EDT 2000

I guess I disagree with Kurt, also.

He wrote:

> It is a great idea to teach children about lepidoptera, and 
> hands on study
> will keep the attention of younger minds.  I have to wonder 
> though, are
> these children exceptionally gifted, because to take it to 
> the level that is
> beyond most high schoolers may be a bit overwhelming.  Most modest
> collectors will admit that it takes years to learn how to 
> properly mount
> lepidoptera to what an experienced entomologist would consider
> "professional".  Many collectors with any love of the 
> environment who hold
> collections feel that taking butterflies or moths without 
> using the proper
> mounting and storage techniques is just throwing away a 
> living animal.  It
> is a waste.  Many lepidopterists also feel that people who 
> hold collections
> and are not affiliated with a university or museum or such 
> are also wasting
> the environment, even if they house a collection that rivals the most
> respected.  If noone learns or sees the collection but the 
> collector it is
> truly a waste.  In your case, however, your students would 
> greatly benefit
> from seeing some mounted insects.  The children would not 
> most likely know
> if they were taking a female regal fritilliary or a male 
> great spangled
> fritilliary until after it had been killed.  So to rush right 
> out and start
> collecting insects at age 10 is wrong.  NOOOO, but it would 
> be nice if the
> children learned respect for the fauna and if they could get 
> a sense of what
> type of collecting is proper.  Collecting etiquette.

Rushing right out and collecting at 8 is exactly what I did, and I didn't do
it very professionally.  Most of the insects I collected at that age are
gone now, and I am not persuaded to feel guilty about it.  From my intimate
observations I developed what is now a strong passion for the natural world
- especially the insect world - and I am much more likely today to notice
when I may be intruding on that world.

If we're going to teach ethics with regard to conservation to our children,
then we had better concentrate our discouragement towards those things which
tend to promote thoughtless habitat destruction.  Things like:  eating fast
food, shopping at supermarkets, driving vehicles, getting new wardrobes,
taking vacations, living in houses, moving to the suburbs, watching
television, going to the toilet, generating refuse, drinking coffee,
throwing birthday parties, going to school, and building hospitals, just to
name a few.

> I have no problems with collecting, mounting and storing 
> lepidoptera, but
> arent children in 4th grade a little young to be doing the 
> work that college
> students sometimes have trouble learning?

I'd be willing to guess that most of the collectors represented on this list
began their collecting passion at or around the 4th grade.  I certainly did.
I would also venture to guess that struggling college entomology students
are not likely to become effective insect conservationists.

Mark Walker.


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