2017 Keynote Speakers
Eric Metzler was born and reared in Michigan. He started studying insects when he was knee-high to a grasshopper, and he never stopped. Eric attended Michigan State University where he received a BS in Parks and Recreation Resources and a minor in Entomology. He thoroughly enjoyed his stellar career with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and retired from the position of Acting Chief of the Division of Watercraft in 1996. When Eric retired he was named Ambassador of Natural Resources by Ohio’s Governor George Voinovich. After his first retirement Eric intensified his study of butterflies and moths; working for The Nature Conservancy, the Smithsonian, the Ohio Biological Survey, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and others. In October 2005, he was inducted into the Ohio Natural Resources Hall of Fame for his efforts promoting insects as a natural resource.
Eric published 4 books and 61 scientific papers on Lepidoptera, and he described 25 species of moths new to science. He regularly presents papers at professional scientific meetings. He is especially proud of his book in 2005, for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which included a new hypothesis on the biogeography of butterflies and moths of the northern tall-grass prairies. During his years in Ohio, Eric was co-founder of The Ohio Lepidopterists, the Columbus Natural History Society, and the Mid-West Biodiversity Institute. He served as officers in each of these organizations, and he edited The Ohio Lepidopterist for 25 years. While serving The Ohio Lepidopterists, he conceived and founded the Ohio State Fair Butterfly House, the Ohio Survey of Lepidoptera, and he first organized the Ohio Long-Term Butterfly Monitoring Program. Nationally he served on the Executive Council of The Lepidopterist’s Society for 25 years where he served as President, Treasurer, and other positions. He continues as chair of that society’s Collecting Policy Committee. Internationally Eric is the Managing Director and President of the Wedge Entomological Research Foundation, U.S. Treasurer for the Society of European Lepidopterists, and he was elected as Distinguished Member of the Baltic-American Biotaxonomy Institute.
After his second retirement, Eric moved to Alamogordo, NM where the National Park Service invited him to undertake long term studies of the moths of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, and White Sands National Monument. Eric already discovered and described several species of moths, new to science, in these national parks. In 2014 he received the National Park Service Regional Director's Award for Natural Resource Research. In 2016 Eric worked with the National Park Service to hold White Sands National Monument’s first MothaPalooza with a White Sands twist (imitation is the most sincere form of flattery) which by all accounts, as quoted from the Monument’s Superintendent “Was stupendous!” Eric is Adjunct Curator of Lepidoptera at Michigan State University, and he is a Research Collaborator at the U.S. National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian). When Eric recently taught a class in Natural Resource Management involving moths at New Mexico State University, one student referred to him as the “Cute little old man” (Emphasis on Cute.) He is married; he and his wife, Pat, have one son, a physicist at the University of Pennsylvania.
Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware where he has authored 80 research articles and has taught Insect Taxonomy, Behavioral Ecology, Humans and Nature, Insect ecology and other courses for 32 years.
Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His book “Bringing Nature Home; How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens” was published by Timber Press in 2007 and was awarded the 2008 silver medal by the Garden Writer’s Association. "The Living Landscape" coauthored with Rick Darke, was published in 2014.
Doug was awarded the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation and the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence in 2013.
Workshop Leaders and Field Guides
Banks, Kim - Kim's past included 25 years of employment in outdoor education. The spark to a career in nature was ignited by a childhood spent watching moths during the hot Ozark summers and excitedly "discovering" new species in her golden guide! Kim has contagious enthusiasm for nature and generously shares her wide-ranging knowledge with others.
Bedel, Chris - Chris has been with Cincinnati Museum Center since 1985. He started in the Exhibits Department and moved to the museum’s preserve system in Adams County, Ohio to assume the Preserve Director role in 1992. Chris’s professional interests include biodiversity cataloging, natural area management and interfacing basic science and education. He directs the museum’s stewardship activities and shares ecological management of the preserve with the museum’s partner - The Nature Conservancy. He oversees all preserve educational activities, facilitates visiting researcher efforts at the preserve and oversees all natural history collections, such as the EOA Reference Herbarium.
In 2005 he began a biological inventory of understudied organisms on preserve lands with staff and visiting scientists. The educational arm of this effort is the Advanced Naturalist Workshops Series. His vocation and avocation is learning more about the ecology and inhabitants of the eastern forest.
Biegler, Craig - Craig is a naturalist with Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks. While still a student, he conducted a moth diversity study at Denison University, volunteered at the Ohio State Insectary, monitored American burying beetles on Nantucket with the Maria Mitchell Association, and identified tropical insects for the Biodiversity Group. After earning his Bachelor's degree in Wildlife Science from OSU, he worked at the Kentucky Reptile Zoo, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, and the Columbus Zoo.
His current job as a naturalist allows him to indulge his passion for educating the public about the natural world. He especially enjoys talking about our less-loved animals, like snakes, bats, and spiders. He lives with his fiancee, his two girls, and various creepy-crawlies.
Brooks, Diane - Diane is a self-taught naturalist and amateur photographer. She has always loved nature, but it wasn't until she moved to SE Ohio in 1994 when she got her first digital camera that she discovered the wonderful world of insects. She loves to study wildflowers and insects, concentrating on moths and beetles.
Diane generously shares her expertise on moth and other insects on various Facebook forums and elsewhere. Her hobbies include rearing different species of moths and butterflies, and gardening.
Gettle, Steve - Steve Gettle’s images communicate his love for the wildlife and wild places of our world. For nearly thirty years, Steve has spent countless hours creating hundreds of thousands of photographs of the beauty around us.
Steve’s images have been exhibited in galleries and museums all over the world, including the Museum of Natural History in London, as well as The American Museum of Natural History in New York. In the spring of 2008, Steve was honored to have a one man show at The National Center for Nature Photography in Ohio. Steve’s work has been featured in many books, magazines, calendars, and other publications by, The National Geographic Society, Canadian Geographic, Audubon, Sierra Club, The BBC, The World Wildlife Fund, The National Wildlife Federation, Birder’s World, Nature’s Best, Wild Bird, Natural History, and many others.
Steve has been honored to receive many awards for his photography. Some of the highlights include being chosen Great Lakes Wildlife Photographer of the Year as well as being a multiple award winner in the BBC’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest, as well as the Nature’s Best photography contest.
Steve’s photography has taken him throughout North and South America from the woods of northern Canada to the to the cloud forests of Costa Rica, from the coast of Maine to the shores of the Galapagos Islands. Although he travels extensively, he finds much of his inspiration in the natural areas surrounding his home, in Brighton, Michigan.
Gilligan, Mike - Mike taught high school chemistry for 36 years until 1999 when he retired. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from The Ohio State University in 1963 and a Masters of Arts Degree in Chemistry in 1966 from The Bowling Green State University. Beginning in 2001, he spent ten years at Ohio Northern University as an adjutant teacher in the chemistry department.
Mike has been an amateur lepidopterists for about the last 25 years, rearing, photographing, collecting, observing, and giving talks on moths and butterflies during this time. He is a member of the Ohio Lepidopterists, the Kentucky Lepidopterists, The Lepidopterist Society, and the Hancock County Naturalist. He has been married for 47 years and has two sons.
Hennen, Derek - Derek is a Master's student in Entomology at the University of Arkansas, where he studies the endemic arthropods of Arkansas. He is originally from southeast Ohio and earned his undergraduate degree from Marietta College. His main research interests are taxonomy and ecology, and he studies various arthropods, especially millipedes and insects (assassin bugs and beetles). He also has a strong interest in natural history.
Derek has a passion for science communication and gives presentations to various groups to spread awareness about the majesty of insects and to encourage others to grab a net and get out in the field. He is currently working on publications about millipedes, including guides to the millipede species of Ohio and Arkansas. Derek blogs about his research adventures at Normal Biology and is on Twitter @derekhennen (https://twitter.com/derekhennen).
Horn, Dave - Dave is Professor Emeritus from Ohio State University and a former Director of the Ohio Biological Survey. Dave's research has focused on insect ecology including looking at the impact of prescribed fires on insects in deciduous forest ecosystems and the impact of utility right-of-way construction on forest ecosystems.
He is also an avid birder and has served as President of the Columbus Audubon Society. He also served as President of the Ohio Lepidoptera Society and is considered a foremost moth expert. He recently relocated to Massachusetts with his lovely wife, Roz.
Howard, John - A native of Adams County, John is a freelance naturalist and wildlife/nature photographer who specializes in prairie ecology, butterflies and botany and is adept in many other facets of the great outdoors. An avid conservationist and one of Ohio's best naturalists, he is a former board member of the Highland Sanctuary. John is one of the originators of Mothapalooza and works tirelessly to share his vast knowledge of Southern Ohio with others. Plus he is just one heck of a good guy!
Jaffe, Sam - Samuel Jaffe is a New England based naturalist, photographer, and educator who has been working with native insects since a very early age. Sam grew up in Eastern Massachusetts chasing birds, mucking through ponds, and turning over leaves. For the last 7 years he has been photographing caterpillars and organizing programs to promote these special creatures to the public.
In 2013 he founded "The Caterpillar Lab" in Keene NH and he now travels across the country working with museums, nature centers, schools, and individual teachers helping native insects find their place in our everyday lives.
Kittle, Olivia - Olivia is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist and a 5th grade science teacher. She is passionate about citizen science and encourages a desire for lifelong, inquisitive learning in her students. Her classroom is full of discovery-based education through natural exploratory processes with an emphasis on tolerance, respect, and kindness for all living creatures.
Born and raised in the Appalachian foothills, Olivia loves southeast Ohio and is determined to educate others about local natural history, wildlife, and conservation issues that impact nearby ecosystems.
Although birds are Olivia’s first love, she was recently introduced to the world of moths! She can be found at her moth station most nights during the summer, with field guide and camera in hand. In particular, she has taken an interest in rearing caterpillars and studying the life cycle of lepidoptera. Olivia is happiest when she can share her love of nature with others. Her hobbies include nature and wildlife photography, gardening, hiking, and camping. She strives to learn something new each day and to live life to its fullest!
Kriner, Amanda - Amanda graduated from Ashland University in 2013 with degrees in Environmental Science and Biology, where she studied bats in the Mohican Forest. She then spent a year traveling the west coast working for AmeriCorps NCCC and learning that she much preferred the rolling hills and humid forests of Ohio over the dry deserts of central California. Since her return she has been working as the Director of Volunteer Resources and Naturalist for the Richland County Park District where she has quickly learned a wide variety of local flora and fauna, with insects taking a large amount of her attention. She is particularly drawn to dragonflies but finds that most insects are created equal in her mind, as well as most everything else that there is to be learned about our natural world!
Larson, Jason - Jason is the Director of the Richland County Park District and Gorman Nature Center. He received his A.A.S. degrees in Floriculture Design and Marketing and Greenhouse Production and Management from OSU/ATI, his Bachelor’s degree in Conservation Science from Muskingum University and his MS degree in Plant and Environmental Biology from Ohio University. Jason also currently serves as a research associate and curator of the William Adams Herbarium at Muskingum University.
Jason is a life-long resident of the state of Ohio and spends a great deal of his free time bird watching and botanizing around the Great Lakes area. His love of the environment and natural history has fostered a keen interest in the conservation and preservation of Ohio’s flora, fauna and natural areas, so that future generations will be able to experience the natural wonders that Ohio has to offer.
McCarty, Rich - Rich was born and raised in Adams County and grew up exploring the woods near his home in Blue Creek, Ohio. An interest in the outdoors as a boy resulted in a degree from Ohio University in Biology. An undergraduate project studying prairie species connected Rich with The Nature Conservancy of Ohio.
Rich is the naturalist for The Nature Conservancy’s Edge of Appalachia Preserve and has worked with TNC, at the Edge, for over 17 years.
McAllister, Martin - Martin currently works with The Nature Conservancy in Ohio as the Appalachian Forests Project Manager. In this capacity he oversees management of the 18,000 Edge of Appalachia Preserve as well as TNC’s efforts to improve forest management and protection in the greater Appalachian Plateau region of Ohio. Martin is a lifelong resident of southern Ohio and a retired public servant with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, having served for twenty-seven years as a naturalist, preserve manager and park manager. His position at time of retirement was as the Southwest District Manager for Ohio State Parks and State Nature Preserves where he directed the management of thirteen state parks and fourteen state nature preserves, a peak-staff of over 200 and responsibility for protection of nearly a quarter million acres of public land in southwest Ohio. In addition to his work with TNC, Martin serves on the boards of three conservation organizations: The Arc of Appalachia, The Friends of Scioto Brush Creek and the Ohio Prescribed Fire Council. Martin lives on his family’s farm in Pike County with his wife Jody and youngest daughter Autumn Rose.
McCormac, Jim - Jim worked for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for 31 years as a botanist, and later specializing in wildlife diversity projects, especially involving birds. He has authored or coauthored six books, including Birds of Ohio (Lone Pine 2004); and Wild Ohio: The Best of Our Natural Heritage (Kent State University Press 2009). The latter won the 2010 Ohioana Book award. He is a coauthor of the Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas II book.
Jim writes a column, Nature, for the Columbus Dispatch, and regularly publishes a natural history blog. He has written numerous articles in a variety of publications, and has delivered hundreds of presentations throughout the eastern United States. He was named 2015 Conservation Communicator of the Year by the Ohio League of Sportsmen. Jim is an avid photographer, shooting a range of natural history subjects. He has had hundreds of photos published in various forums.
Jim's the guy who came up with this crazy idea of Mothapalooza (thanks Jim!) and he is a big part of the event every year; helping to plan it and then working as the event's Emcee, a Field Guide and usually lots of other stuff.
McShaffrey, Dave - Dave McShaffrey has been teaching biology at Marietta College since 1989. He co-directs the Institute of Arthropod Research and manages the Barbara A. Beiser Field station. He has BS and MS degrees in aquatic biology from the University of Akron and a PhD in Entomology from Purdue.
His research includes water pollution biology, biogeography of chironomids and Odonata, functional morphology of mouthparts in Ephemeroptera and other aquatic invertebrates, hydrodynamics of aquatic insects, and forensic entomology. He co-edited and wrote 5 chapters of The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Ohio and co-authored the Ohio Division of Wildlife booklet on Odonata. He has spent over 6 months in Central America co-leading classes in biology and leadership. His photographs have appeared in numerous field guides and textbooks, and he teaches a class in scientific imaging.
He is currently involved in an ATBI of Marietta College’s Beiser Field Station and in studying UV florescence in organisms.
Raterman, Greg - Greg worked for 36 years as a Supervisor/ Industrial Engineer. His retirement eight years ago allowed him more time to pursue his love of nature. He hikes with fellow nature lovers about twice a week to learn more about and photograph all aspects of nature. His yard has been called a junior arboretum. Greg is a member of the Ohio Lepidopterists board, is chairman of its Butterfly Observers Group, and volunteers for Columbus Metro Parks in the butterfly monitoring project.
He got involved with moths six years ago and is continually improving his night light setup and photography equipment. He has recorded more than 800 species of moths in his yard and neighborhood, and currently has more than 200 photos on the Moth Photographers Group website.
Reid, Fiona A. - Fiona has written and/or illustrated numerous works, including A Field Guide to the Mammals of Central America and Southeast Mexico, The Golden Guide to Bats of the World, and Mammals of the Neotropics (volumes 1–3). Her most recent book is the Peterson Field Guide to Mammals. For these projects she spent many years capturing small mammals and drawing them directly from life. She studied natural history at King’s College, Cambridge University as an undergraduate, and completed a Masters Degree in Neurobiology and Behavior at SUNY, Stony Brook University, New York.
Fiona is a Departmental Associate in Mammalogy at the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation Biology at the Royal Ontario Museum. She has led nature tours for the past three decades, showing tourists the mammals and other wildlife of diverse lands from Sri Lanka to Alaska and Argentina. She also runs and operates Batwatch tours to Nicaragua and Brazil.
Her interest in moths developed during nocturnal forays for bats and other mammals around the world, particularly during survey work in Amazonian Ecuador. In recent years she has spent her summer nights prowling her own garden and testing out diurnal pollinator plants on nocturnal visitors, in order to develop the perfect “moth garden.” Her back yard is a 26-acre patch of hardwood forest, ponds and swamp on the Niagara Escarpment near Toronto, Ontario.
Romine, Linda - Linda is a Corps of Engineers Park Ranger at William H. Harsha Lake (aka East Fork) in Clermont County. Her passion for the outdoors began at an early age with her love of birds, blossoms and bugs. Her interest in butterflies took wing when she became involved with Ohio's Long-term Butterfly Monitoring Project.
Linda has recently gone to the "dark side" of mothing and searching for caterpillars at night. She also enjoys gardening for wildlife and photography.
Rothschild, Elisabeth - Elisabeth graduated from Antioch College with a double major in chemistry and biology and Wright State University with a Masters in Biology. She worked as an Environmental Specialist with Ohio EPA for ten years.
She is currently a NAI Certified Interpretive Host and Interpretive Guide. She volunteers with Five Rivers Metroparks, Centerville Washington Twp. Park District, and the Marianist Environmental Education Center (MEEC), where she conducts butterfly surveys and lectures on pollinators, including gardening for wildlife.
Elisabeth raised her first moth at age six - a Wooly Bear in her tiny NYC apartment. As a volunteer for the past 7 years at Cox Arboretum’s Butterfly House, that initial interest has exploded into a full-blown passion for raising and studying Leps. She generously shares her enthusiasm and knowledge on moths, butterflies and a wide variety of other natural history subjects.
Shafer, Marcey - Marcey Shafer is a Naturalist at Clear Creek Metro Park. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University and has been working as a Naturalist, in Central and Southeast Ohio, for nearly 15 years. Marcey is fascinated by the interconnections that occur in Ohio's diverse ecosystems and loves sharing and exploring nature with park visitors of all ages.
Marcey leads Metro Parks volunteers to monitor a butterfly transect and to monitor the forest for hemlock woolly adelgid. She has also led frog and toad calling surveys. She loves all the parts of the forest but has a special passion for everything nocturnal and reptiles and amphibians. Marcey served on the steering committee for the Hocking Hills Chapter of OCVN (Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalists). She has co-led herpetology sessions for this group and a salamander session for the 2015 State OCVN conference.
In addition to her previous Mothapalooza help as a guide, she has joined the planning committee for Mothapalooza 2017 - welcome Marcey!
Starkey, Colleen - Colleen Sharkey is an environmental educator and naturalist. She is also currently working on a Master of Environment and Natural Resources at Ohio State University, focused on native pollinator conservation through education and outreach efforts. Colleen is developing a pollinator garden curriculum guide for educators working with students in school yard gardens and habitat areas, while also assisting with a study on creating pollinator habitat in utility right-of-way areas. A true generalist, Colleen began with an interest in birding years ago, but moths captured her attention while an intern at Clear Creek Metro Park. Lately, she is tinkering with macro photography and drawing to improve her native bee identification skills. If and when there is any spare time, she also loves backpacking, trail running, gardening, and climbing.
Spring, MaLisa - MaLisa received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Marietta College in May, 2014 and is now a graduate student at The Ohio State University. She spent time studying insect diversity in Costa Rica, and later specialized in ladybeetle diversity at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve in Minnesota where she worked as an insect diversity intern.
During the summer of 2013 she traveled to Thailand to research mangrove restoration in abandoned shrimp farms. The same summer she also created a bee diversity assessment project for Marietta, Ohio. By far her largest project, she collected and identified 2,756 bees in 130 different species. This bee research led her to continue similar research for graduate school.
MaLisa's thesis research as a graduate student is focused on pollinator networks and pollen loads in Cleveland, Ohio.
Talbot, Candice - Candice is a self-taught naturalist currently living in Lindsay, Ontario. She has been honing her moth identification skills for the past 8 years by going out every night (weather permitting) and photographing moths.
She has currently photographed over 930 North-American moth species, and enjoys helping others in their moth identification quests! Candice has compiled the Moth Biodiversity Species List for the University of Guelph Arboretum, and has led and been involved with several interpretive events focused on educating the public about moths.
She is currently studying Fish & Wildlife Technology at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Lindsay Ontario.
Wright-Strauss, Robyn - Robyn is the Chief Naturalist with the Edge of Appalachia Preserve System in Adams County, Ohio. She leads the Environmental Education program for the Edge which contacts all 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th graders in Adams County. During the summer, she is conducting a science-based day camp for local kids. In between times, she is raising caterpillars, botanizing, and learning about all the amazing things that make their home on the Edge.
Robyn has a degree from Hocking College in Natural and Historical Interpretation and has worked at Wahkeena Nature Preserve in Sugar Grove, Ohio, Camp Oty’Okwa in Hocking County, and the Wayne National Forest in Nelsonville, Ohio. Robyn has volunteered for the Franklin County Metro Parks, Hocking County Soil and Water, and enjoys participating in Christmas Bird Counts and other citizen science projects.