Friday, December 30, 2016

Looking Forward to the Year Ahead

Male Flame Skimmer dragonfly looking forward through rose-colored eyes?

The new year ahead promises to be challenging in many ways, but hopefully rewarding, too, as I continue in my attempt to bring you topics of relevance to your lives and captivating to your minds, through this blog. I am embarking on a couple of new ventures, and will continue to take my writing in directions away from entomology. I hope you will follow. Resolutions? I have plenty, and I will start with being more grateful for my patrons.

So, first of all I want to again thank those of you who are "following" this blog, those who have donated to it via the PayPal button in the sidebar, those who have paid for advertising here (with my blessing), those who have "shared," re-tweeted, and otherwise expanded my audience, and those who have actively participated by leaving comments, asking questions, and sharing stories of your own. A community like this is a rare thing, and would not exist without all of you.

This blog also caught the attention of a company overseas, and they have invited me to join them in their quest to provide a unique "pest alert" service that will eventually be able to give advanced warning to gardeners of the likelihood that a certain pest will soon be emerging in their geographic area. The Big Bug Hunt is one project of Growing Interactive, a company that produces a variety of apps and other software to aid gardeners all over the northern hemisphere. I will be doing a more thorough write-up about this venture in the coming months.

My current clients appear to be happy with what I am doing for them, so I expect I will be doing "the usual" for the After Bite Insectlopedia, and SpiderID.com, as well as various magazines and other publications. I also have two speaking engagements already on the calendar for January. Really hoping that I will be invited to nature festivals so that I can actually get people out in the field looking at "bugs."

Locally, as president of the Mile High Bug Club, I will be helping to organize events and outings aimed at furthering the club's mission of education about, and conservation of, Colorado arthropods. The club's founder, Bell Mead, originally formed the group in 2008 as a network of people in the arthropod pet "hobby," facilitating care and ethical trade in tarantulas, scorpions, tropical insects, and other exotics. As members moved, lost interest, and otherwise no longer participated, the focus shifted to its current mandate. Thanks to Bell's persistence and diligence, we achieved non-profit status a few months ago.

Among MHBC activities in the coming year will be field trips in search of tiger beetles, dragonflies, grasshoppers, and maybe fireflies and lampshade weavers (a kind of spider). Also on the horizon are the annual National Moth Week events we create and document, plus a series of bioblitz events in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the Trails, Open Spaces, and Parks (TOPS) in Colorado Springs. We also intend to have a booth in the exhibit hall for the national meetings of the Entomological Society of America, to be held in Denver from November 5-8, 2017. The Big Bug Hunt may share table space with us.

Beyond expressing gratitude more regularly, my personal resolutions include reading more (so look for reviews here and over at Sense of Misplaced), generating more book-length work of my own, and integrating myself into a larger network of other writers. My current network is almost all entomologists and naturalists. My philosophy and goals revolve around empowering others to think differently, act to help make the world a better place, and have fun doing it. I have no interest in amassing personal wealth, accumulating more material goods, or chasing fame and celebrity. I do insist on having my skills, intellect, time, and expenditures valued to the point that I am at least breaking even. More to the point, I will aggressively defend the rights of others to be able to make a living doing what they are best suited to do.

Thank you for continuing on this journey with me. Remember, I am always receptive to topic ideas, recurring themes, and other improvements to this blog. I hope I have been responsive to you thus far. Happy New Year to all of you.

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