Rick Cavasin, naturalist, photographer and eButterflyer extraordinaire, is our March eButterflyer of the Month. Rick has been involved with eButterfly since its inception. He is one of eButterfly’s top contributors with 552 checklists and 1,353 photographs submitted! He’s tallied 142 species on his eButterfly life list so far. Rick has been a fantastic beta tester, always provided extremely valuable and insightful feedback and proposed new features to the eButterfly team to help improve the user experience. Additionally, Rick helps to curate the eButterfly database by verifying records in his region and beyond. He is also involved with the Ontario Butterfly Atlas as a data compiler and he is the creator of two excellent and comprehensive resource websites for butterflies in Ontario: www.ottawa.ontariobutterflies.ca and www.ontariobutterflies.ca. We asked Rick why he was attracted to butterflies and eButterfly.
What attracted you to butterflies?
Who doesn’t like butterflies? I’ve always been interested in nature, and I collected butterflies as a kid, but I didn’t really pay much attention to them until I took up photography decades later. Thanks to those childhood experiences, I could readily identify many of our more common species – even on the wing. When I started getting more serious about photography, I was naturally drawn to butterflies, and I seemed to have a knack for getting close-up shots. As an active hiker, nature photography gave me an excuse to explore all kinds of interesting habitats that I probably wouldn’t have thought to visit otherwise. Perhaps that sounds like it was thought out, but in reality, it all just sort of came together organically.
Why do you like eButterfly?
When reading details of the Natural History of various Butterfly species, it never occurred to me that the observations of non-experts like me could
contribute to the knowledge base as a whole. I was gratified to learn that the experts were in fact interested in and appreciative of the contribution
I could make. I found that eButterfly provides a convenient way for me to record my observations, and get them into the hands of people who can
make good use of them. The observations of other butterflyers have been a boon to me in some of my quests, and I figure what goes around, comes around.
What are some of the things you have done with your butterfly photographs?
Most of the photographs I take are just “record” shots – captured to support my observations – but a few do go on to bigger and better things. Some can be found on my website: www.ontariobutterflies.ca. I’ve put together some identification posters and pocket guides of my own, and a few images have found their way into other publications. In addition, some of my images are slated to be included in the soon to be published ROM Field Guide to the Butterflies of Ontario.
Congratulations Rick and thank you so much for all you do for butterflies and eButterfly!