OBTAINING CATERPILLARS

Finding the right spots to look

 

My preoccupation with nature only increased with age. I spent almost all my time in a local suburban park learning the secrets of its animals and plants. A single downed oak tree represented years of exploration - beetle species moved in one at a time, parasitoid wasps searched for their larvae, and tendrils of fungus wormed their way under bark and wood.   

 

I quickly started to see my own neighborhood as a valuable natural landscape, even as others walked by without noticing.

 

I documented much of what I found in the park with photographs.  Sharing my early discoveries through the images I captured was addictive and pointed me towards a career in photography and education. 

Zenning For Caterpillars

 

People often ask me when my interest in caterpillars and the natural world began. Was there some particular event? A moment of discovery that set this lifelong passion on its course?  

 

Well, there are many stories to tell and many moments of discovery to describe. However, the truth is, I cannot remember a time when my curiosities were not peaked, my mind not distracted, by the tangled undergrowth, by the world outside my window. The natural world has always been central to my identity and my interpretation of life. In many ways the roots of The Caterpillar Lab stretch back to my very first encounters with backyard insects as a toddler.

 

Learning Life Histories

In 2008, after graduating from Brown University, I rediscovered my joy of hunting for and rearing caterpillars. I began a project to photograph all the larger and more  charismatic caterpillar species in New England. By 2009 I was already showing my work in local galleries.  

 

That summer I was asked to host an opening for one of my photography exhibits, a classic wine and cheese style event.  I surprised visitors when I delivered not just refreshments, but a few hundred live caterpillars to explore as well. This  opening represents my very first live caterpillar show -something that would later become a staple of The Caterpillar Lab's activities.  

In 2011 I developed an exhibit on caterpillars with Boston Children's Museum and performed six daylong live caterpillar programs. I enlisted the help of friends and family and for the first time my work with caterpillars entered into the realm of "we," rather   than just "I."  It felt right. 

Techniques to get you started

 

Early in 2013 I launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a full summer of educational programs about caterpillars. The BBC (British Broadcasting Company) had expressed interest in filming caterpillars with me, which seemed a good excuse to plan my most caterpillar-filled year yet. 

 

I was attending Antioch University New England at the time and found two interested and devoted peers to help with the project.  We rented a space to raise caterpillars and referred to our project as "The Caterpillar Lab" for the first time.

 

Throughout that summer we put on caterpillar shows across New England, at major museums and local farmers' markets.  We filmed with the BBC for three weeks and became fast friends as we worked day and night to bring our vision to life.

Why Zen?

In 2014 The Caterpillar Lab moved into a new space in The Colony Mill Marketplace building in Keene, NH.  We began to offer free public open hours every week and  our outreach programing continued to expand. We brought on additional staff members and started an internship program. The year was a tremendous success and we were able to reach more people with our programing than ever before.  

The Caterpillar Lab Facebook page grew quickly as we posted a near constant stream of images and videos of our unusual creatures. Our thriving Facebook page has allowed us to broadcast our work far outside the boundaries of New England.

Tricks and Traps

 

People often ask me when my interest in caterpillars and the natural world began. Was there some particular event? A moment of discovery that set this lifelong passion on its course?  

 

Well, there are many stories to tell and many moments of discovery to describe. However, the truth is, I cannot remember a time when my curiosities were not peaked, my mind not distracted, by the tangled undergrowth, by the world outside my window. The natural world has always been central to my identity and my interpretation of life. In many ways the roots of The Caterpillar Lab stretch back to my very first encounters with backyard insects as a toddler.

 

Sweep Netting

 

My preoccupation with nature only increased with age. I spent almost all my time in a local suburban park learning the secrets of its animals and plants. A single downed oak tree represented years of exploration - beetle species moved in one at a time, parasitoid wasps searched for their larvae, and tendrils of fungus wormed their way under bark and wood.   

 

I quickly started to see my own neighborhood as a valuable natural landscape, even as others walked by without noticing.

 

I documented much of what I found in the park with photographs.  Sharing my early discoveries through the images I captured was addictive and pointed me towards a career in photography and education. 

Beating Sheets

In 2008, after graduating from Brown University, I rediscovered my joy of hunting for and rearing caterpillars. I began a project to photograph all the larger and more  charismatic caterpillar species in New England. By 2009 I was already showing my work in local galleries.  

 

That summer I was asked to host an opening for one of my photography exhibits, a classic wine and cheese style event.  I surprised visitors when I delivered not just refreshments, but a few hundred live caterpillars to explore as well. This  opening represents my very first live caterpillar show -something that would later become a staple of The Caterpillar Lab's activities.  

In 2011 I developed an exhibit on caterpillars with Boston Children's Museum and performed six daylong live caterpillar programs. I enlisted the help of friends and family and for the first time my work with caterpillars entered into the realm of "we," rather   than just "I."  It felt right. 

Blind Collection

 

Early in 2013 I launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a full summer of educational programs about caterpillars. The BBC (British Broadcasting Company) had expressed interest in filming caterpillars with me, which seemed a good excuse to plan my most caterpillar-filled year yet. 

 

I was attending Antioch University New England at the time and found two interested and devoted peers to help with the project.  We rented a space to raise caterpillars and referred to our project as "The Caterpillar Lab" for the first time.

 

Throughout that summer we put on caterpillar shows across New England, at major museums and local farmers' markets.  We filmed with the BBC for three weeks and became fast friends as we worked day and night to bring our vision to life.

Using Common Species

In 2014 The Caterpillar Lab moved into a new space in The Colony Mill Marketplace building in Keene, NH.  We began to offer free public open hours every week and  our outreach programing continued to expand. We brought on additional staff members and started an internship program. The year was a tremendous success and we were able to reach more people with our programing than ever before.  

The Caterpillar Lab Facebook page grew quickly as we posted a near constant stream of images and videos of our unusual creatures. Our thriving Facebook page has allowed us to broadcast our work far outside the boundaries of New England.

Moth Lighting

 

People often ask me when my interest in caterpillars and the natural world began. Was there some particular event? A moment of discovery that set this lifelong passion on its course?  

 

Well, there are many stories to tell and many moments of discovery to describe. However, the truth is, I cannot remember a time when my curiosities were not peaked, my mind not distracted, by the tangled undergrowth, by the world outside my window. The natural world has always been central to my identity and my interpretation of life. In many ways the roots of The Caterpillar Lab stretch back to my very first encounters with backyard insects as a toddler.

 

Equipment

 

My preoccupation with nature only increased with age. I spent almost all my time in a local suburban park learning the secrets of its animals and plants. A single downed oak tree represented years of exploration - beetle species moved in one at a time, parasitoid wasps searched for their larvae, and tendrils of fungus wormed their way under bark and wood.   

 

I quickly started to see my own neighborhood as a valuable natural landscape, even as others walked by without noticing.

 

I documented much of what I found in the park with photographs.  Sharing my early discoveries through the images I captured was addictive and pointed me towards a career in photography and education. 

Identification

In 2008, after graduating from Brown University, I rediscovered my joy of hunting for and rearing caterpillars. I began a project to photograph all the larger and more  charismatic caterpillar species in New England. By 2009 I was already showing my work in local galleries.  

 

That summer I was asked to host an opening for one of my photography exhibits, a classic wine and cheese style event.  I surprised visitors when I delivered not just refreshments, but a few hundred live caterpillars to explore as well. This  opening represents my very first live caterpillar show -something that would later become a staple of The Caterpillar Lab's activities.  

In 2011 I developed an exhibit on caterpillars with Boston Children's Museum and performed six daylong live caterpillar programs. I enlisted the help of friends and family and for the first time my work with caterpillars entered into the realm of "we," rather   than just "I."  It felt right. 

Collecting Females

 

Early in 2013 I launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a full summer of educational programs about caterpillars. The BBC (British Broadcasting Company) had expressed interest in filming caterpillars with me, which seemed a good excuse to plan my most caterpillar-filled year yet. 

 

I was attending Antioch University New England at the time and found two interested and devoted peers to help with the project.  We rented a space to raise caterpillars and referred to our project as "The Caterpillar Lab" for the first time.

 

Throughout that summer we put on caterpillar shows across New England, at major museums and local farmers' markets.  We filmed with the BBC for three weeks and became fast friends as we worked day and night to bring our vision to life.

Collecting Eggs

In 2014 The Caterpillar Lab moved into a new space in The Colony Mill Marketplace building in Keene, NH.  We began to offer free public open hours every week and  our outreach programing continued to expand. We brought on additional staff members and started an internship program. The year was a tremendous success and we were able to reach more people with our programing than ever before.  

The Caterpillar Lab Facebook page grew quickly as we posted a near constant stream of images and videos of our unusual creatures. Our thriving Facebook page has allowed us to broadcast our work far outside the boundaries of New England.

Where are the Monarchs?!

 

My preoccupation with nature only increased with age. I spent almost all my time in a local suburban park learning the secrets of its animals and plants. A single downed oak tree represented years of exploration - beetle species moved in one at a time, parasitoid wasps searched for their larvae, and tendrils of fungus wormed their way under bark and wood.   

 

I quickly started to see my own neighborhood as a valuable natural landscape, even as others walked by without noticing.

 

I documented much of what I found in the park with photographs.  Sharing my early discoveries through the images I captured was addictive and pointed me towards a career in photography and education. 

Trouble Shooting

 

People often ask me when my interest in caterpillars and the natural world began. Was there some particular event? A moment of discovery that set this lifelong passion on its course?  

 

Well, there are many stories to tell and many moments of discovery to describe. However, the truth is, I cannot remember a time when my curiosities were not peaked, my mind not distracted, by the tangled undergrowth, by the world outside my window. The natural world has always been central to my identity and my interpretation of life. In many ways the roots of The Caterpillar Lab stretch back to my very first encounters with backyard insects as a toddler.

 

Who can help me?

In 2008, after graduating from Brown University, I rediscovered my joy of hunting for and rearing caterpillars. I began a project to photograph all the larger and more  charismatic caterpillar species in New England. By 2009 I was already showing my work in local galleries.  

 

That summer I was asked to host an opening for one of my photography exhibits, a classic wine and cheese style event.  I surprised visitors when I delivered not just refreshments, but a few hundred live caterpillars to explore as well. This  opening represents my very first live caterpillar show -something that would later become a staple of The Caterpillar Lab's activities.  

In 2011 I developed an exhibit on caterpillars with Boston Children's Museum and performed six daylong live caterpillar programs. I enlisted the help of friends and family and for the first time my work with caterpillars entered into the realm of "we," rather   than just "I."  It felt right. 

Purchasing Caterpillars

 

Early in 2013 I launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a full summer of educational programs about caterpillars. The BBC (British Broadcasting Company) had expressed interest in filming caterpillars with me, which seemed a good excuse to plan my most caterpillar-filled year yet. 

 

I was attending Antioch University New England at the time and found two interested and devoted peers to help with the project.  We rented a space to raise caterpillars and referred to our project as "The Caterpillar Lab" for the first time.

 

Throughout that summer we put on caterpillar shows across New England, at major museums and local farmers' markets.  We filmed with the BBC for three weeks and became fast friends as we worked day and night to bring our vision to life.

Transporting Caterpillars

In 2014 The Caterpillar Lab moved into a new space in The Colony Mill Marketplace building in Keene, NH.  We began to offer free public open hours every week and  our outreach programing continued to expand. We brought on additional staff members and started an internship program. The year was a tremendous success and we were able to reach more people with our programing than ever before.  

The Caterpillar Lab Facebook page grew quickly as we posted a near constant stream of images and videos of our unusual creatures. Our thriving Facebook page has allowed us to broadcast our work far outside the boundaries of New England.

Responsible Collecting

People often ask me when my interest in caterpillars and the natural world began. Was there some particular event? A moment of discovery that set this lifelong passion on its course?  

 

Well, there are many stories to tell and many moments of discovery to describe. However, the truth is, I cannot remember a time when my curiosities were not peaked, my mind not distracted, by the tangled undergrowth, by the world outside my window. The natural world has always been central to my identity and my interpretation of life. In many ways the roots of The Caterpillar Lab stretch back to my very first encounters with backyard insects as a toddler.

 

Permissions and Permits

 

My preoccupation with nature only increased with age. I spent almost all my time in a local suburban park learning the secrets of its animals and plants. A single downed oak tree represented years of exploration - beetle species moved in one at a time, parasitoid wasps searched for their larvae, and tendrils of fungus wormed their way under bark and wood.   

 

I quickly started to see my own neighborhood as a valuable natural landscape, even as others walked by without noticing.

 

I documented much of what I found in the park with photographs.  Sharing my early discoveries through the images I captured was addictive and pointed me towards a career in photography and education. 

State Lines

In 2008, after graduating from Brown University, I rediscovered my joy of hunting for and rearing caterpillars. I began a project to photograph all the larger and more  charismatic caterpillar species in New England. By 2009 I was already showing my work in local galleries.  

 

That summer I was asked to host an opening for one of my photography exhibits, a classic wine and cheese style event.  I surprised visitors when I delivered not just refreshments, but a few hundred live caterpillars to explore as well. This  opening represents my very first live caterpillar show -something that would later become a staple of The Caterpillar Lab's activities.  

In 2011 I developed an exhibit on caterpillars with Boston Children's Museum and performed six daylong live caterpillar programs. I enlisted the help of friends and family and for the first time my work with caterpillars entered into the realm of "we," rather   than just "I."  It felt right. 

Giving Back

 

Early in 2013 I launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a full summer of educational programs about caterpillars. The BBC (British Broadcasting Company) had expressed interest in filming caterpillars with me, which seemed a good excuse to plan my most caterpillar-filled year yet. 

 

I was attending Antioch University New England at the time and found two interested and devoted peers to help with the project.  We rented a space to raise caterpillars and referred to our project as "The Caterpillar Lab" for the first time.

 

Throughout that summer we put on caterpillar shows across New England, at major museums and local farmers' markets.  We filmed with the BBC for three weeks and became fast friends as we worked day and night to bring our vision to life.

Giving Back 

In 2014 The Caterpillar Lab moved into a new space in The Colony Mill Marketplace building in Keene, NH.  We began to offer free public open hours every week and  our outreach programing continued to expand. We brought on additional staff members and started an internship program. The year was a tremendous success and we were able to reach more people with our programing than ever before.  

The Caterpillar Lab Facebook page grew quickly as we posted a near constant stream of images and videos of our unusual creatures. Our thriving Facebook page has allowed us to broadcast our work far outside the boundaries of New England.

The Caterpillar Lab fosters greater appreciation and care for the complexity and beauty of our local natural history through live caterpillar educational programs, research initiatives, and photography and film projects. We believe that an increased awareness of one’s local environment is the foundation on which healthy and responsible attitudes towards the broader natural systems of this world is built.

© 2015 CATERPILLAR LAB INC.  With original artwork by Heather Reid and Samuel Jaffe

 

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