What is a lepidopterist?

Mark Walker MWalker at gensym.com
Mon Jan 28 21:29:56 EST 2002

Not to be controversial, but I don't entirely agree with Ron.  I wouldn't
call everyone who has an interest in animals a "zoologist".  Likewise, the
term "lepidopterist" is better reserved for those with a strong link to
scientific activities - regardless of any professional affiliation.
Similarly, I do agree that formal education is NOT a requirement - nor, as
I've mentioned, is net swinging.  The bottom line: if you think you're a
lepidopterist, then you are.

Mark Walker.

Ron Gatrelle wrote:

> This was not intended as a controversial thread when Rudy 
> first posted on
> it.  But in actuality there is a very important underlying issue here.
> Here is my take on this whole matter.
> For hundreds of years the term lepidopterist was used by all 
> people who
> simply dealt with butterflies and moths in any way.  There 
> was no other
> term. Today The Lepidopterists' Society (est. 1947) exists as 
> it always
> has.  The Lepidopterist Society is a membership of "anyone 
> interested in
> any aspect of lepidopterology."  There are several other regional leps
> societies in the US and many others around the world.   Here, 
> the Ohio,
> Utah, Southern etcs. are all the same.  They are made up of 
> people with
> entomological education and people with no formal education.  
> They are made
> up of folks who collect and folks who mostly or only observe. 
> Gardeners and
> non gardeners.  Photographers, breeders, dealers.   This is THE only
> accurate historical answer to the question of what is a 
> lepidopterist - it
> is _anyone_ and _everyone_ engaged in  any and every activity 
> involving
> butterflies.
> Asking what a  lepidopterist is, is exactly like asking what 
> a human being
> is.  We are all humans - we are all lepidopterists.   Now, 
> not every human
> receives others humans as such.  This has been a continual 
> human problem.
> We have come a long way in eliminating prejudice and bigotry 
> from world
> society - though elements still remain.  But while society has made
> progress in understanding the amalgam of humanity - the 
> lepidopterist world
> 15 to 20 years ago begun to move in the opposite direction. 
> (How do I know
> the time frame?  Because I have lived for 20 years on both 
> sides of that
> time "divide". )
> I got a private email from someone the other day who 
> emphatically informed
> me that they were "a watcher -- not a lepidopterist".   I was 
> very taken
> back by this for as an old timer I grew up in this butterfly thing as
> viewing us as all the same - lepidopterists.
> But a new generation has now come into being who are being 
> raised up in a
> segregated leps world.  They are being groomed to see 
> differences. They are
> taught to be separatists.  They are taught that they should sit in the
> front of the buss and lepidopterists (which term they have 
> been taught to =
> collectors which term they have been taught to = poachers, killers,
> destroyers, enemies of butterflies and moths.) should not 
> even be alowed to
> ride on the buss.   Until 15 +/- years ago there were no 
> "butterfly wars"
> at all among those who were involved with any and all aspects 
> or activities
> relative to butterflies and moths.  _What_ happened back then 
> to bring this
> current division about?  And _who_ started and is promoting 
> it?   It is not
> historical lepidopterists, their societies, or their leadership.
> Because lepidopterists are multifaceted they are tolerant and 
> embracive of
> all other lepidopterists whose specific interests differ from 
> their own .
> Lepidopterists are unifying not divisive.  Lepidopterists go 
> both ways -
> that is they will be members of both Lep Soc and NABA for example.
> Lepidopterists are integrated and are not net-phobic, voucher-phobic,
> watch-phobic, garden-phobic, etc.   Lepidopterists and their societies
> still see us as they always have - one group with one interest.
>  Ron Gatrelle
>  ------------------------------------------------------------ 
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