A Polyphemus moth, photographed by David Clements last summer, is one of the many insects he grew up admiring as a “nature nut.”

Green Beat: How to be a nature nut

I have fond memories of many Saturday mornings growing up in London, Ont. immersed in nature

I have fond memories of many Saturday mornings growing up in London, Ont. immersed in nature.

I would often join the McIlwraith Field Naturalists on their forest ramblings. It was sometimes bitterly cold but I remember my heart being warmed by chattering chickadees and the opportunity to hang out with others like me.

Yes, I was a nature nut.

I sometimes would surprise the adults on these naturalist outings with how much I knew about insects. Through most of my formative years I would make frequent forays in the summer to capture insects for my collection, which eventually numbered in the thousands of specimens.

Many of you are probably asking, “how could anyone be such a nature nut?” I think one story might explain it.

I remember a time when I spotted a moth. It was an underwing moth with beautiful colourful hindwings resting on the window of my elementary school. I was so excited that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I couldn’t think about anything else after school that day.

My mother understood all too well. She knew my heart would not rest unless I tried to catch that moth. So she obliged and drove me back to the school. Like other insects, I euthanized the insect in my killing jar and then carefully spread out its wings for optimal display, all the while marveling at the intricacy and beauty of this creation.

Later I experienced the heartbreak of seeing my entire collection destroyed by “museum beetles.”

After that, I turned to photography as a much more humane way to capture the beauty of the insects without having to worry about the demise of the specimens.

It has been wonderful to discover nature here in B.C., and the local naturalist groups here.

Joining the Langley Field Naturalists (LFN) has allowed me to once again wander the woods with “birds of a feather.”

Maybe you are a nature nut who has not yet found your cluster? If so, I highly recommend the LFN or whatever naturalist group is local to you. The LFN field trips take you all over the B.C. Lower Mainland and beyond, and are a great way to learn your local flora and fauna and local nature nuts.

The LFN also features an indoor program that meets monthly on the evening of the third Thursday each month at the Langley Music School.

Incidentally, the Feb. 18 meeting features some nature nut (me) speaking about killer weeds and climate change.

See http://www.langleyfieldnaturalists.org/ for details.

David Clements, Ph.D. is Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Trinity Western University.

Langley Times

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