National Moth Week welcomes Aundrea Schneider of Ontario, Canada, an outdoor educator and wilderness skills instructor, as the country coordinator for Canada. Aundrea, who has been a frequent participant in National Moth Week over the years, tells us about herself:
“The Bug Girl, Crazy Spider Lady, Moth Mother. I’ve been called many things over the years, and I wouldn’t regard them as insults, but instead a confirmation of my love for entomology. Since childhood, I’ve spent so much of my time in the forests and lakes that I have met countless creatures and experienced many bites and many stings. Curiosity and a quest for the truth has always driven me, so I would need to find out what exactly that tiny winged insect was, and where it lives, what it eats. Every time I came across a new animal (bugs are animals too!), I would learn about it. Today, I still do this. The internet makes both learning and teaching much more accessible and I’m grateful for that, but I’m also disappointed with how quickly misinformation spreads and how comfortable ignorance can be.
“This will be my 8th year participating in National Moth Week. I don’t recall where or how I first heard of it, but I do remember my first solo, backyard event. Having the porch light that no one wanted to approach gave me an exceptionally good environment for data collection. I didn’t need a sheet, nor did I need a UV light. I was all set, just by going outside and hanging out on my porch. It was magnificent! I have always loved observing the different species of insects and spiders that show up as well. National Moth Week is an annual opportunity to bring people together and inspire them! Learning about moths by means of a fun, hands-on activity like light trapping is very effective! It’s another step toward eliminating misconceptions and fear, while introducing the world of Lepidoptera as it comes alive at night.
“I’ve become a rather divergent outdoor educator through years of varied education, volunteering and research. Currently working as a wilderness skills instructor after a completing a 2-year Outdoor Pursuits program, I spend my free time volunteering as a naturalist for various land trusts and parks within Canada and continuing my studies, while being a proud mother to an exceptionally bright boy with Tourette Syndrome, who has taught me incredible patience and inspires me to do better and teach better, every day.
“Bringing science and nature to others is something I value, wholeheartedly. I have found that there is a lack of content, accuracy and accessible opportunities when it comes to outdoor education. It is my goal to change that. Currently, I am working toward opening an outdoor skills center that focuses on both wilderness (survival and bushcraft) skills and naturalist skills. These two subjects don’t often meet, and it’s important that they do. I’d like to give people an inclusive, equal opportunity to learn and practice the many topics within these subjects, regardless of background or finances.
“Much of my success stems from the outstanding efforts in education by the Royal Ontario Museum, Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust, NYC Parks and Lakehead University’s Master Naturalist group. For moths specifically, I owe thanks to my friend and extremely knowledgeable moth advocate, Baz Conlin.”
Welcome, Aundrea. We look forward to your efforts to increase participation in National Moth Week across Canada!