What is a lepidopterist?

Bob Parcelles,Jr. rjparcelles at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 29 17:53:28 EST 2002

--- Rudy Benavides <rbenavid at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Mark Walker <MWalker at gensym.com> wrote:
> Likewise, the term "lepidopterist" is better reserved for those
> with a 
> strong link to scientific activities - regardless of any
> professional
> affiliation.
> Many people nowadays become interested in butterflies through
> programs that 
> they attend that are sponsored by nature centers, or similar
> organizations.  
> These are typically in the form of walks where a group leader leads
> the 
> group and helps to locate and identify butterflies.  There is also
> much 
> literature available now emphasizing butterfly gardening, and that
> is 
> something that has come about in the past several years.  These 
> organizations are very effective in conducting basic classes and in
> giving 
> many people their first introduction into the world of butterflies
> and other 
> things in nature.
> It is from these ranks that thousands of people today are becoming
> the new 
> breed of butterfliers that are out there today.  I've been to
> sessions were 
> nets are used, and I've been to ones where the leader explains that
> in 
> his/her outing, nets will not be used.  From these groups, many
> folks will 
> go on to join local Butterfly Clubs as well as other national
> organizations 
> such as NABA.  And it's my opinion that relatively few join
> Lepidopterists 
> Societies, simply because, if they are aware of them at all, they
> are 
> perceived as societies for professionals...noticed I said
> perceived.
> Now I find the whole thing most interesting, because it is the same
> process 
> that the 'birding' movement went through years ago until it became
> the 
> popular avocation that it is today and includes such competitive
> things as a 
> World Series of Birding, etc.  One difference that stands out now
> in the 
> butterfly world is with collectors.  In the birding world that
> never became 
> an issue primarily because collecting birds is not allowed due to
> protective 
> migratory federal laws. One can only imagine had that not been the
> case.  
> But the attitude (which Alex referred to as a movement) is coming..
> (heck, 
> it's here already), and I expect to see a proliferation of more
> magazines, 
> books, videos, seminars, etc., etc, geared to butterfliers and
> butterfly 
> watchers.  I think Ron made a statement (it caught my eye) a few
> days ago 
> when he mentioned that the Lep Society had had its chance awhile
> back but 
> 'missed it'....well, we all know that someone else did not.  But
> anyway, 
> that's the change that is coming and that's IMO the reason why
> these 
> distinctions about lepidopterist vs watchers are going to be
> made,,,,,with 
> all the positives and negatives that they bring.
> I'm sure others see this differently, and that's why i asked the
> question 
> originally.
> Rudy

Rudy, you have made excellent points. It still is not too late.
Lepidopteranean societies need to let the public know they are not
for just professional (paid, dedicated to leps researchers) but all
lepidopterists. This can counter this "movement" (as a natural thing
and not a conspiracy (to a great extent anyway). Ron Gatrelle is the
only "society" doing this by the back and side door. Of course, we
have to be careful, Ron is capeable of forming a cult. :)

Bob Parcelles, Jr.
Director Miami Blue Butterfly Project

Bob Parcelles, Jr
Pinellas Park, FL
RJP Associates, C2M-BWPTi
rjparcelles at yahoo.com
"Change your thoughts and you change your world."
- Norman Vincent Peale

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