Those of you who have your own blogs know that sometimes you lack inspiration to make a post, lack images to illustrate a post with, or even just don’t feel like writing. Then there are the times when you are doing other things instead of blogging. This past week I have confronted all of those obstacles. So, instead of an insect or arachnid, I’ll let you in on what I’m working on in real life, apart from the blogosphere:
- Contributing to another field guide. Once again I am collaborating with naturalist Kenn Kaufman and his wife Kimberly, furnishing text about insects and related arthropods for a regional field guide to the upper Midwest (think Chicago as the epicenter). Besides writing, I am also going through my own insect images to see if any are worthy of inclusion, too.
- Preparing a presentation. I have been invited to give a presentation to the Aiken Audubon Society of Colorado Springs at their monthly meeting on Wednesday, April 17, at 7:00 PM, at the Division of Wildlife building located at 4255 Sinton Road. The title is: “Beyond Birds: the Rewards of Bugwatching.”
- Preparing for a workshop. I have agreed to deliver another Advanced Naturalist Workshop for the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History. This one will take place August 23-25, and cover true bugs (Hemiptera: Heteroptera). I look forward to the friendly confines of the Eulett Center, the eager students, and the biodiversity there on the “edge of Appalachia.”
- Planning for “Mothapalooza.” I will be at the Eulett Center in June, too, participating in a moth-centered event there, from June 14-16. Many thanks to several people who are making my visit possible, and cost-effective. I actually look forward to learning a lot, as moths are not my strong suit.
- Planning for “Bug Fest” in Bloomington, Indiana. One of my good friends is organizing a weekend event at the Hilltop Garden and Nature Center on the Indiana University campus, Saturday, June 22. I will help lead field walks and provide any other assistance I can. I will spend the week between this event and Mothapalooza there in Indiana.
- Project Noah. I have been anointed the status of “Ranger” on this interactive website whereby people can post “spottings,” in the form of images uploaded from their computers, cameras, or even smartphones. The mobile accessibility is unique, as is the fact that these spottings are from all over the world. Right now I feel little more than useless since all the insect spotting are coming from the southern hemisphere and I don’t recognize any of them! I’ll be more productive at making identifications once spring has sprung north of the Equator.
- Working on *me*. My wife and I purchased a year membership to Planet Fitness and have been going to the gym regularly to improve our physical health. Some days I’m not sure whether I’m in a gym, a tattoo parlor, or a prison (seriously, one guy the other day had an ankle monitor), but I am already feeling the results after only one month. I have no illusions that I’ll miraculously get the body I had in my 30s, but I want to be as healthy as I can be, especially if I want to travel overseas (which I do).
- Birding. Well, when insects are few and far between, I tend to let my attention drift briefly to birds. This is not all bad. The Aiken Audubon Society has some very nice field trips, with delightful people, and usually great food. The promise of food alone is usually enough to get me up early, but I really enjoy the social aspect since most of my time during the week is spent home alone.
Boning up on fossil insects. Just today I spoke with people at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, and they would like me to teach a one-day seminar on insects of the park, both extinct and extant. The park is perhaps best known for its unique arthropod fossils. They even have a fossil wasp as their logo. We are looking at July for that possible event.
There are other projects and/or part-time jobs that are stirring, but I don’t want to jinx myself. You will hear about them when the time comes, if it ever does. Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out how to create “Moth Monday” as a feature when Heidi has Sunday and Monday off, thus pleasantly distracting me….