I wanted to find a subject worthy of my 100th post to this blog, and I think I have one: My wonderful friend Abigail Parker. Abby is a highly intelligent and creative woman who has become a very respected authority on lady beetles (familyCoccinellidae) of North America. I finally had the pleasure of meeting her in person in south Texas last month.
We had known each other for a long while via Bugguide.net, but it turns out Abigail is very knowledgeable about most natural history subjects. She taught me several birds during the Texas trip. I would not have recognized this Willet, for example, had she not told me what it was.
Her enthusiasm and patience are remarkable, especially considering that she battles medical issues that would leave most of us indoors whining and complaining at a minimum. The heat and humidity of Brownsville and Mission will leave the healthiest person exhausted, but Abby was a real trooper.
One of the things I love most about Abigail is that she maintains a “sense of wonder” and awe that most scholars lose along the way in academia. She’s quick to ask that you not be in awe of her own Yale education, but her friendly and conversational personality put you at ease anyway.
Our mutual friend Mike Quinn invited us to join him, and his colleagues, for blacklighting in the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. This was Abigail’s first time doing this kind of thing and she was in wonderland! It was great to see her enjoying herself, her friends, and the myriad of insects that flocked to the lights.
In “real life,” Abby lives with her husband in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she also works for a small publishing company. Her interests beyond birds and ladybugs extend to gems and tarot cards. She is also a talented artist, as any visit to her Facebook page or Flickr photostream will reveal. She also has her own blog, ”Butterfly Psyche”, that you might check out.
During the Texas trip I was honored to treat Abby to a birthday dinner at a sushi restaurant in Mission. We both got “dressed up” and had a great time. I learned a good deal about sushi, too! There seems to be no limit to Abigail’s passions, knowledge, and achievements. Keep it up, Abby, and know you have many friends who care about you.