Saturday evening, OCAS in conjunction with the Middlebury Area Land Trust and the Vermont Etymological Society held a celebration of the global citizen science project, National Moth Week. We started off at the Ilsley Public Library meeting room where Middlebury resident, Jennifer Murdoch, told about why and how in just over a year she has become a bit of a moth fanatic. She was followed by another moth enthusiast, Joanne Russo, who gave us an overview of moth families and tips on how to identify them. Finally, Michael Sabourin from the Vermont Etymological Society gave us his perspective on moth biology.

With our newly acquired knowledge on moths, we then went out into the field to put that information to use. There were two moth-attracting setups, one at Otter View Park and the other at Wright Park consisting of a white sheet with mercury vapor and black lights aimed at them. And as you can see from the pictures, the lights were very effective in attracting a wide variety of moths of all shapes and sizes. Micahel Sabourin was at Otter View Park and Joanne Russo was at Wright Park to help with IDs, and we were thankful to both of them for their expertise. Some of the favorites seen were the White Furcula Moth, Harris’s Three Spot, Painted Lichen Moth and Arched Hooktip. Many other insects were also attracted to the lights including caddisflies, fruit flies, a wasp, mayflies, green lacewings, and Michael Sabourin’s favorite, at Fishfly.

All in all this was a very enjoyable and successful event, and for that would would like to thank MALT for letting us use Otter View Park, and the town of Middlebury for letting us use Wright Park, both after hours of their normal dawn to dusk usage times. Also those who provided power to the lights via extension cord or generator. And of course our presenters and experts, especially Jennifer Murdoch who approached us with the idea of putting on this event in the first place.

– Ron Payne

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