About the Utah Lepidopterist and his blog…
I began collecting insects at about age 8. For equipment, I made my own net frames and my mother would sew the net bags for me. The Butterfly Company in New York (I believe it was New York) supplied me with insect pins. My dad helped me make a spreading board. For some reason we always had Plaster of Paris in our garage, so I made my own killing jars and would have mom buy nail polish remover to use as the dispatching agent. Cigar smoking was still pretty popular at the time, and the local liquor store would keep me stocked in cigar boxes to store my treasures.
I continued collecting all through high school and even acted as a 4-H leader for their entomology program in Uintah County. I sort of fell away from the hobby when I got married and life was more about making a living than anything else. I have no idea what happened to those dozens of cigar boxes full of bugs that I collected in my youth.
My interest in Lepidoptera was rekindled in the mid nineties when I made a trip to the Utah Field House of Natural History in Vernal Utah. There was a display case filled with insects that had been collected by Ken Tidwell (one of the founding members of the Utah Lepidopterists’ Society). I found BioQuip’s catalog on the Internet and ordered a couple of nets, killing jars, insect pins and all the other required accessories to start collecting again. I knew of the Utah Lepidopterists’ Society, but never could get out to the Wasatch front on a day they were holding one of their meetings.
I spent the summer collecting and cataloging butterflies on my father’s property up Dry Fork Canyon, Northwest of Vernal. Unable to afford standard drawers or wood boxes, I was back to storing my specimens in cigar boxes (though now they were my own leftovers) with Styrofoam inserted in the bottom. I even corresponded with Ken Tidwell concerning Speyeria nokomis nokomis which I had collected in Dry Fork canyon.
Unfortunately, that winter the basement in my apartment flooded and I lost my entire collection and all of my equipment and notebooks except for the net frames and handles which I still have. I was so disheartened, I gave up again.
Now, let’s fast forward to December 2011. I own my own company and do database design for community mental health centers across the country. I have been serious about photography for the past several years and was thinking of doing some nature photography next year, specifically butterflies and moths. As I began researching this aspect of photography my interest in studying Lepidoptera was once again renewed.
An order to Amazon was quickly placed for some books. BioQuip was again contacted and I ordered some replacement net bags for my existing handles and frames as well as enough equipment to get me started once the weather warms.
I decided to start this blog in an effort to share what I learn (and re-learn) with others. I am starting fresh essentially, and thought there would be others that might benefit from my experiences. So here we have a blog that will cover all phases of the study of Lepidoptera. Photography, observing, rearing, collecting are all going to be covered. We’ll learn to collect moths at night in the glow of Mercury Vapor lamps. We’ll explore areas of Utah that I for one have never been to. We’re going to learn about all the different ways of studying Lepidoptera. We’re also going to figure out the cataloging software Specify 6 and how it can be used by avocational Lepidopterists. I’ll share all the meetings I attend and collecting trips that I take. Finally, we’ll meet some of the folks here in Utah and elsewhere that have been doing this for a lot longer than us.
Come join me won’t you? You can subscribe to the blog via email or RSS feeds using the links in the left column. And if you have any comments or requests, please use the contact page.