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Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus) by Bryan Pfeiffer

Moth and Butterfly Seminar

A Field Course in Vermont
June 29 – July 3, 2019

Designed for students at virtually any level of expertise, this seminar is five days of Lepidoptera immersion in the lab and in the field. Moths, in terms of diversity and abundance, dominate the course. But with two instructors, we adapt to the aspirations of any student — from beginning butterflyers to experienced lepidopterists looking to advance with a particular moth taxon.

Bryan Pfeiffer (butterflies) and Hugh McGuinness (moths) will be your instructors for this small-group workshop from Biodiversity University, an adventure in education offered by North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier, Vermont.

Our goal is to give students a complete range of skills — from visual identification to dissection — for succeeding with this insect order. The mix of field and lab instruction includes:

  • Morning lectures on ecology, conservation, taxonomy and family- and genus-level characteristics.
  • Field outings on identification of macro-lepidopterans, net-and-release techniques, specimen collection and photography.
  • Lab work featuring sorting and identification of moth specimens trapped during the seminar, study of lepidopteran anatomy, and dissection and examination of genitalia for identification purposes.
  • Sleep deprivation owing to late nights with moths at UV and mercury-vapor lights.
  • A presentation from the Sam Jaffe of the famed Caterpillar Lab.
Hugh McGuinness

Hugh McGuinness

Hugh received his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Michigan in 1987. A former faculty member at Long Island University, he now teaches science at Maret School in Washington, DC, and curates moths at the Smithsonian Museum. His current research focuses on moths as indicator species in successional habitats, the spread of introduced Lepidoptera, and documenting Lepidopteran biodiversity on Long Island, N.Y., where he has encountered more than 1,000 moth species. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and two children.

Bryan Pfeiffer

Bryan Pfeiffer

A field entomologist, writer and boy explorer, Bryan is perhaps more than anything a teacher. Over the course of three decades, he has guided thousands of people to the discovery of birds and insects. Bryan was a co-founder of the Vermont Butterfly Survey and its principle field lepidopterist. He has collected, watched, and photographed butterflies from the tropics of Central America to above the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia. He now consults with the University of Vermont’s Field Naturalist Program and is at work on two books.

Seminar Image Gallery

Participant images are from Bryan and Hugh’s previous seminars at the Eagle Hill Institute.
(Click any thumbnail for a full view of the image or to begin a slide show.)