With the help of an army of citizen scientists, the Vermont Butterfly Big Year aims to record every species of butterfly in Vermont this year. It’s a blend of science, education, competition, enjoyment, and a quest to monitor the changing nature of the state. Climate change, invasive species, habitat loss, and other environmental concerns are altering the biological diversity of Vermont. And with your help, VCE is trying to understand what this means for butterflies.
Ten Steps to Better Butterfly Photography (new camera optional)
Spring is upon us and many of us are eager to get out butterflying with our cameras in hand to bring back a piece of those jewels home and share them with our butterflying buddies. While I don’t fancy myself as an expert photographer, I sure love to photograph butterflies and other insects. I realized over time that many tricks I took for granted to approach butterflies were foreign to many naturalists especially those new to it. After sharing some tips on how to approach butterflies and better photograph them with friends and colleagues and seeing them come back with much improved results and more species than they use to find, I thought this might be helpful to share.
Here are my 10 steps to better butterfly photography. Note these tips apply to any kind of camera from a smartphone to a professional DSLR with a macro lens. It isn’t always about the camera!
Make eButterfly Your New Year’s Resolution in 2016
Since its inception just a few years ago, eButterfly has grown in leaps and bounds thanks to the dedication of many butterfly watchers and professional lepidopterists. We hear from many users who tell us how eButterfly has helped them learn more about butterflies and has made their butterflying more fun and have more purpose. We also hear from many great butterfly watchers who say that they want to submit to eButterfly more often or that they “keep meaning to get started” but have yet to “take the plunge.” Together, let’s make 2016 the year without regret! Make your New Year’s resolution to use eButterfly! With all the improvements we’ve made, eButterfly is easier to use than ever. Give it a try today, for yourself, for watchers everywhere, and for the butterflies we all care about. (more…)
The Secret Weapons of Cabbages: Overcome by Butterfly Co-evolution
For some of us in the north, a Cabbage White fluttering in the garden on a warm November day may be the last butterfly we see for the year. Recently, an international team of researchers has used the power of genomics to reveal the mechanisms of an ancient and ongoing arms-race between butterflies and plants, played out in countless gardens around the world as green caterpillars devour cabbage plants. This study appears 50 years after a classic paper by Paul Ehrlich and Peter Raven that formally introduced the concept of co-evolution using butterflies and plants as primary examples. The present study not only provides striking support for co-evolution, but also provides fundamentally new insights into its genetic basis in both groups of organisms. (more…)
eButterfly Visits the White House
This week eButterfly co-director Katy Prudic is at the White House in Washington, D.C. where she was invited to a small White House conference called Open Science and Innovation: Of the People, By the People, For the People. The meeting will focus on the new federal citizen science toolkit and other crowdsourcing sites like eButterfly. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star…
‘No one looking’, so citizen scientist fills the gap
An avid citizen scientist, Mark Olivier, after having recorded and documented over 1,000 bird sightings has found another niche — butterflies. The era of citizen science has flourished with the advent of the Internet, partly because it provides a platform for bird watchers and outdoor enthusiast to share their sightings, said Olivier. Sault Naturalists have engaged in Internet reporting for years. Finding himself one of many in the field of birders, the passionate photographer sought a new interest and from this came his evolution to butterfly watching. (more…)