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Upcoming Events

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 BugGuide Gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

Photos from the 2010 Workshop in Grinnell, Iowa

Photos from the 2009 gathering in Washington

Bug Guide Gathering details

I would like to propose that the Bug Guide community plan for an annual, informal meeting or gathering. We get to know each other online, through emails but I think it would be fun to get together once (or more) every year, in person. I propose that this gathering happens in different areas of the continent every year, thereby allowing cheapskates, like me, to at least make it to the event at some point in time when it happens near me.
I am envisioning no formal, academic presentations, but perhaps a bug-gy show-and-tell session of slides or powerpoint, entomological trips of interest, etc.
And finally, to show that I am serious about this, I volunteer to host a meeting, next summer, in 2007. I would host this gathering in NE Minnesota, within view of Lake Superior, at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center (www.wolf-ridge.org). There are food and lodging accomodations to be had at Wolf Ridge as well as fun stuff like canoeing, rock climbing and high ropes challenge courses. Check out the website. I have hosted Odonata meetings here and it has worked out famously.
What do ya think?

Kurt Mead

2008 BugGuide Swarm?
I did do a quick look through the Forum and came up with no info on a Swarm for '08. I will not be around (spending a year in Sweden) but it would be great if it happens again, maybe in several places.

I just got a great email from the parent of a 9 year old boy who is wondering if he and his dad are going to be able to go to a Swarm, this year.

Come on people! Don't disappoint a little boy!

Now is the time to start planning this sort of thing as people fill their summer schedules pretty early on. It can be a very simple event with participants camping or in hotels. It's wide open. My understanding is that anyone could announce their own unofficial Swarm.

Any volunteers? In my experience, hosting a BugGuide Swarm is very rewarding as many really great people come to YOU and you get to show them around your favorite haunts. How cool is that?

Anxiously awaiting,

Kurt

 
Bug Swarm 2008
I totally missed out on the first Bug Swarm, but would love to go to one this summer. I agree that plans should get started soon, so people can plan accordingly. I participated in a reunion last year in August, and we started planning in January.
Like Kurt Mead mentioned, it would be nice to have more than one swarm per year. What does everyone think about trying to get four swarms going...one in extreme NE, one in the SE, one in the SW and one in the NW -- OR, one in the Appalachians, one in the central Grasslands, one in SW canyons, and one in the Rockies?
I'm absolutely not trying to elect myself as the organizer, but what are your thoughts on asking people to answer me via e-mail with their preference of month and place? Maybe I could go from there in trying to get someone to do very basic planning as far as lodging, etc. for each area. Kurt, exactly how much did you actually have to 'plan'?

Anyone reading this, who is even remotely interested in going to a swarm this year, please do either comment to this entry, or e-mail me at ycnancy2k@hotmail.com (If you e-mail me directly, mention Bug Swarm in the subject -- I don't open mail from people I don't recognize :)

Thanks, Nancy

 
Southeast
I put in my two cents for a southeastern swarm.

 
I would love to go to one!
I'm terrible at planning something like this, though. I think that regional swarms are a great idea.

 
Arizona?
See here. I hope we can make it happen. We'll miss you. Best wishes in Sverige!

I'd also like to see if we can get the south-easterners together again...I missed the last time.

Trip Report
I wrote up a little trip report and put up some non-bug photos on my website.

Thanks to Kurt for arranging the gathering! I had a great time. He set the bar pretty high for a future event. Anyone have suggestions?

P.S. Stephen posted a nice photo of a Yellow-rumped warbler from the trip.

Back home...
Just thought that I would drop a note and let everyone know I made it home alright. It was a long drive, but I kept it interesting stopping at gas stations every now and again and checking out the mayflies coming to the lights! I would like to say though that I had a blast, and it was great to meet some of the Bugguide folks at last. Hope everyone made it back safely and had just as great of a time as I did. Later!

BugGuide Swarm wrap-up
Mike Boone suggested the name "BugGuide Swarm" for these events and I like it so I'm going to use it.

Last weekend's get-together at Wolf Ridge was well attended and great, in my opinion. Although the venings were a bit cool for really active black-lighting the weather during the days was very nice with the predicted heat wave starting after everyone left.

Much our indoor, group time was spent sharing ideas and discussing entomological and photographic issues as well as just getting to one another. The level of naturalist skills within the group was deep and diverse (sedge ID was occuring within a small group on a regular basis, for example).

There is great interest in doing this again next year and someone has already contacted me with questions about this weekend in anticipation of trying to organize another one next summer. I won't divulge any details as the interested party is still trying to figure out if it will work. I think that limiting it to just one per summer is not something that we want to encourage. It would be nice if these things just popped up all over North America, giving people a chance to to choose a Swarm which is geographically of interest and/or convenience to them. I know that there were several people that would have come to Minnesota but for a simple scheduling conflict.

Included, below is the list Odonata species IDed during the field trips. Dianne Rowse kept really good notes and compliled this list for us.

I would like to thank all those who came to Wolf Ridge for being so great. May other Swarm organizers be so lucky.

Kurt Mead

Hi, Kurt- Thanks again for a wonderful weekend workshop! Here is the list from my notes:
Lake Darner
Black-tipped Darner
Ocellated Emerald
Brush-tipped Emerald
Frosted Whiteface
Crimson-ringed Whiteface
Hudsonian Whiteface
Belted Whiteface (formerly Red-Waisted Whiteface)
Saffron-winged Meadowhawk (flew by, not captured)
White-faced Meadowhawk
Aurora Damsel
Boreal Bluet
Marsh Bluet
Hagen's Bluet
Sedge Sprite
Northern Spreadwing
Emerald Spreadwing
Amber-winged Spreadwing
Sweetflag Spreadwing
That's 19 species!!!

Hello from Wolf Ridge
There are currently 23 people sitting here looking at BugGuide at Wolf Ridge,. Half of us are from BugGuide and the other half are here for Minnesota Odonata.
We'll post pictures tomorrow. Weather's great!

Kurt, etc.

 
Update
I added a few photos taken by Kurt Mead to the site. Click here.

Gotta go do some blacklighting!

 
Best wishes
I hope that all of you will give those of us who couldn't make it a full report on the first Bugguide meeting.
Have a great time!

BugGuide Event Updates
Greetings to you all,

There are now 30 people signed up for the weekend with a few local folks planning to show up for the field trips on Saturday. Here are a few last minute details and reminders…

The forecast for this weekend looks great. No rain is predicted and the high temps are forecast to be in the mid 70’s on Friday, low 80’s on Saturday and warming to the upper 80’s by Sunday. The nights have been cool, lately, so plan accordingly.

I suggest that you bring your own pillow and linens or sleeping bag. Although Wolf Ridge can supply them for a fee, they are not luxurious and, as I said, the nights may be cool and I would hate to have anyone stumbling around, shivering, in the middle of the night looking for more blankets. The beds are standard bunk beds (full size sheets?).

Bring your own towels, etc. There are full bathroom/shower facilities in every room.

Everyone should plan for the usual field trip supplies such as sunscreen, hat, bug spray, water bottles, day pack etc. I find that walkie-talkies are very useful when in the field with multiple cars and if we split up.

The black flies are mostly gone but there are a few mosquitoes. During the day they tend not to be so bad, but in the evening they will be plentiful.

Many of the sites that we will be visiting will be wet, so I suggest that you bring wet shoes, old tennis or rubber boots. I do use Crocs (those colorful rubber clogs) sometimes, but they may be a bit light weight for some of our sites.

There will be swimming opportunities for those in need of a cool down. Plan accordingly.

I will have regional dragonfly and damselfly guide books available for sale and will have a few loaners for the weekend. The Wolf Ridge gift shop has a nice selection of regional guides for sale and they have stocked up on Eric Eaton’s new insect guide.

I assume that everyone who is flying in has made their own arrangements to get from the airport to Wolf Ridge. There are maps and directions on the Wolf Ridge website. www.wolf-ridge.org

Anyone who has requested a private room will be getting one. We have added a few more rooms to our block of rooms at Wolf Ridge so there is plenty of space.

I am going to try to muster as many computer resources as I can, at Wolf Ridge, but if you feel that you will need to have regular access I would suggest bringing a laptop if you have one. There will be a projector available (slide projector too, but you’ll have to let me know in advance if you want to use one) so we can do some show and tell. There is high speed wireless at Wolf Ridge, but because of the local topography and odd weather conditions at the time, in can get dodgy.

Please feel free to email me with any other questions. I’m really looking forward to this weekend!

Kurt

Cool!
Hey, cool! i would LOVE to go!

Latest update
Greetings,

There are now 23 people signed up for the joint, Minnesota Dragonfly Gathering and BugGuide Meet-Up at Wolf Ridge ELC in Finland, MN. I just thought that I would send a note to those already signed up to give you a few more details of what is happening and when.


Friday, July 20th – Check-in will be at the main office and your rooms will be ready to move into by 4:00pm. Dinner is at 5:00. I think we can plan on a meet-and-greet and intros by 6:30 with an Intro to Odonata ID, following. Weather permitting, we will set up black light traps before dark at different locations around Wolf Ridge and we’ll keep checking them until we get too tired.

Saturday, July 21st – There will be an optional, early morning walk with photographer, Bill Morgenstern, to the Sawmill Creek Valley to get some of the dewy shots that some people like so much. Breakfast is at 7:00 and we’ll plan to gather by 8:30 for the macro photo workshop by Bill Morgenstern. By 10:00 we should be ready to head out into the field for the day, carpooling to local sites with bag lunches provided by Wolf Ridge. We are blessed with some amazing wetland habitats and our field trips will focus on these, so be prepared for wet feet. Supper is at 5:00. At 6:30 we will reconvene to create a list for the day, help each other out with ID, download some photos to the BugGuide website, look at each others photos on the big screen, etc. I also plan to get us onto either one of the indoor rock climbing walls or onto the Adventure Ropes Course.

Sunday, July 22nd – Breakfast is at 7:00 after which, you will pack up to vacate your rooms so that they can be cleaned. We will meet at 8:30 to go into the field. Sunday field trips will be at Wolf Ridge, which has over 2000 acres of varied habitats to explore, including two lakes with canoes available for our use. I don’t have a firm ending date on Sunday which will allow all of you to get going as you see fit, dependant upon airport schedules, long drives home, etc.


Other notes…

If you have any dietary restrictions, please let me know. Wolf Ridge is able to accommodate a variety of needs, but please tell me fairly soon so that the kitchen staff has time to make plans. The food is served cafeteria-style with very few ala carte options.

We will have computer and internet access, but if you have your own laptop, it would be good to bring it.

As with any field experience you should come prepared with items such as sunscreen, bug spray, hat, water bottle, snacks, day pack, rain gear, camera, net, etc. We do plan to visit a variety of wetlands including bogs, fens, marshes, swamps, streams and lakes (one swimming beach possibility if the weather cooperates) so come with the appropriate footwear. Open-toed sandals are NOT recommended for hiking through wetlands due the increased possibility of foot injury. I prefer old tennis shoes or sturdy wading shoes over rubber boots as I always want to go deeper than the boots and boots are so hot in the sun.

Summer weather up here in NE Minnesota can range from 100’F to just above freezing (they had 36’F in nearby Hibbing last week) so plan on a variety of clothing options.

The dreaded blackflies will be all but done by the time you get here, but it’s been wet enough that there are a few mosquitoes.

Did I miss anything?



Kurt

Room for more
We just added four more names onto the list of people coming to the BugGuide "event" (I still haven't come up with an event title that really sticks, yet). There are now a dozen BugGuiders signed up with an additional eight Minnesotans coming for the Odonate focus of the event (Minnesota Dragonfly Gathering).

As I have stated, earlier, couples who would like a private room can request one (limited availability). There is an additional charge of $47.50 per room for this (which is half of what they normally charge as it is usually per person, not per couple). All others will be arranged by gender, no more than 4 to a room.

The field trips will be primarily to sites of Odonatological interest, but they will, undoubtedly yield unusual species of many insects. I happen to know that there will be many of the rarer bog-dependant butterfly species at many of our sites.

I have not done much black-lighting for bugs at night, but we are going to give it a shot. If anyone has any equipment to bring along, please do! I was going to brew up some moth bait but some folks in Duluth attracted more bears than moths, and although black bears are NOT dangerous if given the proper respect, they can be a nuisance and they will probably just eat all of our moths!

Incidentally, though I have had little time to do any moth ID this summer, there seem to be more moths and more species of moths present than I recall seeing here in the past.

I spoke with Bill Morgenstern on Thursday and he is looking forward to the photography workshop during the weekend. He will hold a "formal" workshop for a couple of hours after breakfast on Saturday. Then he will join us in the field to provide hands-on assistance with your macro photography. Bill also wants to invite all of you early risers (not me) to join him on Saturday, before breakfast, to shoot those dewy, early morning shots in Wolf Ridge's Sawmill Creek Valley.

Please email me with any comments or suggestions. There is no real deadline for registration, but if you have specific rooming requests, I suggest that the earlier the better.

Kurt Mead
mndfly@cpinternet.com

 
Swarm?
I still haven't come up with an event title that really sticks, yet

How about the "BugGuide Swarm"? :)

Definitely looking forward to it.

Re: Bugguide Gathering
Yes, you can count my wife and I in. I just sent you a seperate email for contact info. You're just up the road apiece, from home, here in Minneapolis. It sounds like a great time and some really good photographers.

I'm Going
Just bought my plane ticket. I will be arriving in Duluth Friday around midday and leaving Monday afternoon. If anyone wants to share a ride up to Finland or back, let me know.

Looking forward to it!

Registration for the BugGuide Festival
For registration, just email me your address and phone number. I am keeping this info. I'm not going to ask for any money, up front.

I've got a professional, outdoor photographer lined up to do photo workshops during the weekend. His name is Bill Morgenstern and here is his website, http://www.earthmoodsphoto.com/main.htm. Bill is also an avid Odonate enthusiast.

Looking forward to meeting you all!

Kurt

Count Me In
I plan to attend, this sounds like great fun!

Specific details are set!
I have hammered out the details for the BugGuide Get-Together and here they are:

COST: $125 per person for the whole weekend

WHEN: July 20-22, 2007 - Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon

WHERE: Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center, Finland MN

ACCOMODATIONS: The Wolf Ridge Dorms are spacious and each room includes four bunk beds, a table, and a full bath. No more than four people per room (sorted by gender, family - otherwise, by request). Private room adds $47.50 per night and they are available only on a limited basis. Linens are provided for a $7 fee.

MEALS: All meals are included and are served cafeteria-style. We will have a bag lunch in the field on Saturday. Vegetarian entree options available if requested when registering.

ACTIVITIES: We will have buggy presentations on Friday and Saturday evenings. Field trips to include visits to bog/fen and other local aquatic habitats as well as Wolf Ridge's 2000 varied acres. Other options include: night-time black-lighting, etc. for bugs, rock climbing on Wolf Ridges indoor walls, high adventure ropes course, canoeing on Wolf Ridge's lakes, moose-watching trips by car, birding hikes, etc.

WORKSHOPS: Macro Photography and Dragonfly ID workshops will be offered.

NATIVE CRITTERS: Much of the local flora and fauna are boreal. You may expect to see moose, wolves, black bear, pine martens, black-backed woodpeckers, carnivorous plants such as pitcher plant and sundew, many of the northern emerald and darner dragonfly species, many of the rare bog-dependant butterfly species, old growth white pine stands, etc.

LOCAL ATTRACTIONS: The list includes, but is by no means limited to: Lake Superior, Split Rock Lighthouse, Goosebery Falls State Park, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, hundreds of lakes, dozens of rivers and waterfalls, picturesque northern towns such as Ely and Grand Marais, Superior Hiking Trail, The International Wolf Center.

If you want or need to stay at a motel or campground before or after the weekend, ask Wolf Ridge for a list of options when you register.

Air travel is to Duluth which is 1 1/2 hour drive from Wolf Ridge. Car rental is available at the airport. A shuttle to and from Wolf Ridge is possible, for a fee, but arrangements will have to be made in advance.

If there is an interest we can have a time for authors, photographers, etc. to sell their wares. Let me know if you are interested.

Contact me and I will send/email you a registration form. See you Up North!

Kurt

 
Attending
I'm planning on attending, probably focusing on butterlies and beetles. Could use some info on reservations...

 
Hoping to go
Kurt, I'm tentatively planning to attend, along with my dad (rabid birder and butterfly watcher, now into dragonflies) and my 7-year-old son, a budding entomologist.

Extended Trip
I'm thinking about making the trip to Minnesota. This is probably as close as I'll get to the Boundary Waters in a long time. I'm an avid kayaker, and I was thinking of maybe doing a couple days paddling/camping at the Boundary Waters either before or after the BugGuide gathering. Any other BugGuiders thinking about coming to MN and interested in a side trip? I don't yet know if a short paddle trip is feasible, but I thought I'd throw the idea out there.

 
Side trips
I can line you up with excellent advice on canoe trips of any length. There are actually some nice day-trip options within a half hour's drive from Wolf Ridge. If there are people interested in doing so, Wolf Ridge can completely outfit (canoes, food tents, etc.) a crew of people, complete with a guide/naturalist. I'll get a cost estimate if anyone wants it.

Kurt

The more the merrier and register, here
To answer Mr. Din's question (or do you prefer a less formal, Infamous), yes, the more the merrier. I have Wolf Ridge expecting as many as 40-50 people, but less will work and in a few months, if response is good, we can probably up this number as we see fit.

To get your name on the list of interested persons, email me, directly. As we get closer to the date we may have to ask for some money down to reserve a spot. Please let me know names, address, phone number and if you plan to stay at Wolf Ridge or if you want to rent a room in a nearby hotel/motel/cabin. also let me know if you feel up to taking the lead on a particular group(s) of critters. We will be depending upon participants to bring ID resources to share with others. I would also like to encourage authors of related texts/guides to come as we can set up a time for authors to sell and sign books.

Any other details?

Kurt
info@mndragonfly.org

 
Count Me In.
You may use any permutation of my handle that you like. (: )) Take a look at my poem at www.theinfamousdin.com for an expose on it. Click on "About The Infamous Din."

I've never been to this kind of an event, so I'd better not accept too much responsibility until I know what I'm getting into. hehe.

I'll look for interesting things to contribute.

(very) Upper Midwest BugGuide Festival
I have scheduled what I am calling the "BugGuide Festival" for the weekend of July 20-22, 2007. It will happen at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center near Finland, MN. The name of the "Festival" is up for discussion and should probably standardized if others plan to book events in other parts of the country. I argue that having the BugGuide name involved will help the website in publicity and will be unique as there are other "BugFests" and the like, out there.

Accomodations at Wolf Ridge include comfortable, dormitory-style housing and meals in a dining hall. Wolf Ridge sits atop a ridge over-looking Lake Superior, not far from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and has 2000+ acres of mixed northern hardwoods and coniferous forest with 2 lakes, 3 streams/rivers, a diverse wetland area with fens (floating bog-like environment), cedar and black ash swamps, beaver dams, many cliffs (popular in in the rock climbing community), easy access to the Superior Hiking Trail, etc. Locally accessible field trip sites include habitats for many of the rare, boreal dragonfly and butterfly species as well as phenomenal northern birding.

Some housing options include booking dorm rooms as a family or a group (otherwise you will be assigned dorm rooms based on gender),or using local hotels and campgrounds, lists of which are available upon request. Book hotel/motel rooms early as this is a popular tourist destination and rooms and campgrounds fill quickly.

Estimated cost for the weekend at Wolf Ridge (Friday after lunch through Sunday afternoon) is $120 which will include all meals, housing and the use of some of Wolf Ridge resources such as their indoor rock climbing walls (with instuction) and the Adventure Ropes Course (see website!). There are also canoes at both of the lakes. I have actually estimated the cost a little high, but it will depend upon the presenters and experts, who will be encouraged to "donate" their time, but there may be some expenses... Stay tuned for more details! Let me know if you have someone in mind (you?) to conduct a macro photo workshop or if there are entomological experts who might want to lead field trips.

Transportation to and from the Duluth Airport (about 75 miles away) can be arranged, for a reasonable fee.

Although Finland, MN is a little off of the beaten path, I think that this could be a great time and place to gather, get to know a few other BugGuide people and learn from other enthusiasts.

FYI...I plan (hope) to host one of our Minnesota Odonata Survey Project's "Minnesota Dragonfly Gatherings" concurrent with this Festival at Wolf Ridge so there will be focused, Odonate workshops and field trips in which you may participate.

I am going to try to pursuade a regional spider and butterfly expert/friend to get involved, as well.

Well? What do you think?

Kurt

 
Potential activities
Hi Kurt. You may want to consider operating an insect attractactant set-up for the Friday and Saturday evenings/nights. The main 'customers' will be moths, ranging from large to minute, but there will be other groups attracted including Odonates if the evening is warm.
I would suggest a 'tent" set up:
rather than a sheet as the former provides a huge suface area for the bugs to sit and leaves more room for photographers. The flat vertical surfaces and different sizes of bugs provide a great opportunity for photographers to practice macro-photography. One can photograph at night with flash, or in the morning using natural daylight. There will be far fewer insects in the morning but there should still be plenty insde the tent.
I purchased my screen tent for less than $50.00 (Canadian). You could use either Black Light tubes run off a battery as in Jim's set-up or a Mercury Vapor lamp that will need AC power. The MV bulb will attract more insects. Best to have the tent positioned at the edge of a forest so that you will attract both forest and field species.
BL bulbs and MV bulbs can be obtained from BioQuip,
http://www.bioquip.com/default.asp

 
Nocturnal habits of Entomologists
I was just thinking, testerday about the nocturnal habits of entomologists and that black lights, moth bait stations, etc. would be very fun and informative. Not to mention that this could be a late-night workshop-type of offering to demonstrate different techniques, to share baiting recipes, etc. (Plus, being intersted in Odonates, I can sleep in the next day...)

I have played with this a very little bit and would love to have someone with more experience to come and show us how this can be done!

Keep the ideas coming.

Kurt

 
It's good to have friends in the bug business. hehe.
That sounds like a lot of fun. From what I've read it sounds like an open invitation. Is it a "more the merrier" kind of event?

 
Great
Great! I think this is the idea: someone just has to plunge in and start organizing. This won't prevent other get-togethers elsewhere, including those piggy-backing on other groups, if someone wants to organize those too.

I would like to attend, and I have never photographed anywhere close to Minnesota. Time to start negotiating with the significant other!

Great idea. But instead of ev
Great idea. But instead of everyone travelling to 1 destination, have events scheduled for different parts of the U.S.

i.e. North East bugguide gathering, East, Southeast, Mid West, West, etc. and plan accordingly.

My budget is pretty limited
But if there's one that's inexpensive to get to from Seattle, I can plan to be there. None of my friends & family are really very interested in invertebrates, like me, and I think it would be really awesome to meet some of you.

Great!
I love the idea and the location sounds great, too.

 
Name
You might call it, "BugFest," or better yet, "EnFest."

Kurt,
If you are willing to organize it, I think Wolf Ridge sounds great. The person that steps up to organize the next gathering can choose a location near them, and so on. I think the idea of planning it around other events is also a good one, it makes for less organizing for the host. I would love to take a half day photography course or entomology course while meeting up with other buggers. The meeting we had in Raleigh last summer at the Bugfest was pretty cool. It was a little too short because I came late, but it was really neat to put faces with names.

 
Texas Butterfly Festival might be good piggyback
Might be good to piggyback on the Texas Butterfly Festival in Mission, Texas. It is more field-oriented than BugFest in Raleigh, which is mostly a children's event. It is fairly easy to get to--good airline connections to nearby McAllen, plus good convention hotel rates, and they already have field trips going, mostly for butterflies, but also for other things. I just went to the 2006 festival, and it was tons of fun, with lots of insect diversity at the various natural areas in the area. I went on some of the organized trips, and did some photo sessions on my own with a friend. Several other BugGuiders were there, including Arlene Ripley, Josh Rose, and Roger Rittmaster. There are display tables at the convention center, as well as talks and seminars in the afternoons. Perhaps somebody could give a talk on using BugGuide and watching the "other orders"?
It's all pretty well set up, and would be an excellent event on which to piggyback. They also have had an event called "Dragonfly Days", but it did not run this year--they may do it again next year. (The local chamber of commerce promotes these things, and is very interested.)
I'd love to go to northern Minnesota, but that is not an already-running festival. I think piggy-backing, initially, is the way to start, with a Bugguide-oriented seminar and some field trips to look at a variety of insects. (That was already happening on some of the trips--depends on the leader. Josh led one, and we did look at a variety, with a focus on odonates.)

My photos from the 2006 festival start here. Tom Murray and Will Cook have both visited durhing the festival period, I believe. They have already posted many of the butterflies to be found there, so I have not bothered with them very much. The number and diversity of butterflies in October 2006 was astounding.

 
Looks awesome
From what I understand, there is no better time and place for butterflies in the entire country than South Texas in October. One problem I forsee is that for many people (especially teachers like me) a trip in October might not be feasible. Might I suggest one of the summertime conferences of the Dragonfly Society of the Americas for a meeting place? Here is the website. I have attended a couple of the regional conferences, and they are very casual, field-trip heavy, and fun. Many of the people who attend are interested in other animals and bugs, as most ode people (like me) have expanded their horizons from birding to butterflies to odes and beyond. The main conference next year is in Springerville, AZ in late July, and there are regional confernces in NJ and GA earlier in the summer.

 
I Didn't Think I'd Be Able to Attend Such a Gathering
But I'm usually in the Springerville area at that exact time ... in fact, is this some kinda set-up?!

Anyway, this is my stomping grounds so I'll try to monitor the progress of this notion. If anyone attends, drop me a line and maybe we can get together. I offer my services as guide (though y'all probably know more about bugs than I). Let me know if I can help.

Now I don't think there's too much in Springerville (except the Little Colorado River lazily winding through grassland with amazing cricket song etc.) but the mountains just to the south, that's where its at: (Other "Springerville" area images at my account.) This is a pretty remote, isolated area and y'all may find bugs you've never seen before.

This is all so sudden but this may be my best oportunity to get together and I'm feelin' responsible and hospitable.

Let me know if you have any questions.

 
I agree
you got some great shots of some cool bugs down there.

Good idea.
I agree this is a terrific idea, but I would propose a slight change. Many of us no doubt attend other scientific and professional meetings, and our travel budget is rather limited. Having the Bug Guide gathering at the same place and time (or staggered time) as one of these other gatherings would be ideal. This year I plan to attend the annual meeting of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators in Madison, Wisconsin. Also hope to attend the annual meeting of the National Association for Interpretation (park ranger and nature center folks) in Albuquerque this fall. Teaming up with one of these other meetings might be a thought, anyway. We might also propose a second gathering so we can actually get into the field together. So, you'd have the field trip/workshop in spring or summer, and the photo sharing meeting in the fall or winter. What say the rest of you?

 
Good points, but...
Eric, I can see and I respect your point, but as someone whose travel budget for attending numerous Odonata meetings has always come out of my meager family budget it makes no difference to me either way. I would assume that most of the individuals using Bug Guide are civilians, like myself. On the other hand, without the professionals at a meeting like this it may turn out to be Bug Guide Lite. The professional, organized meetings for specialties would have to take precedence, I'm sure, leaving little time to leave your jobs for a Bug Guide meeting.
Either way, I am excited about the possibility of getting together with like minded bug nuts.
Would anyone have a problem with me organizing a "regional" entomological opportunity, advertized and promoted to the general public as well as to Bug Guide participants, loosely affiliating it with Bug Guide? If this isn't a problem, I would encourage anyone to pick a weekend, announce it on Bug Guide and see who shows up. It could turn out to be a movement! A whole series of Bug Guide events popping up all over North America. It might even catch Homeland Security's attention. Think of the free press!

OK, whatever...

The above (serious) comments are not meant to be contrarian, Eric. Just putting forth my personal perspective.

Kurt

 
No problemo:-)
One of my other, albeit 'implied' rationales for my suggestion of teaming up with another meeting is that it would be a good opportunity to generate a larger audience for Bugguide, and/or more contributors. This would be especially true for the National Association for Interpretation, where naturalists, park rangers, and related folks would benefit enormously from this resource. I've already written an article in one of the section newsletters about Bugguide, but I think having a presence there at their national meeting (even as an exhibitor) would be great. I have absolutely zero objections to 'any' kind of Bugguide gathering, though:-)

Sounds Great
Sounds great to me! I think this is a great idea.

--Stephen

Stephen Cresswell
Buckhannon, WV
www.stephencresswell.com

you
got my support. im up for it when it happens

That would be really cool. I
That would be really cool. I would really enjoy the chance to thank personally everyone here who has helped me a great deal. This website has been a god send. I've been interested in bugs for years and this has been my graceland ever since I found it. No more scouring of obscure scientific white papers that I don't understand anyway.

I do propose one change.. ;) It should be in Chicago every year.. lol

Actually maybe some people around the midwest may have been to or heard of bug bowl. It's held in indiana every spring at purdue university layfette campus. It's a whole weekend of events put on by the entom. department. Exibits of pinned specimens, photos, live insects to "pet", quiz bowls, everything for little kids to doctoral students to get together and celebrate bugs. I went a few years ago and had a blast. It was before I found this site and was a place where I took a bunch of my photos to be ID'd.

-Gehan Gehale

 
Chicago!
Chicago sounds great to me! It wouldn't be a plane ticket away... Then I could stay with family, and learn all the nifty techniques these great photos are taken with. Please let us all know how it turns/ turned out. I won't be able to make it this year on such short notice.

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