It's all about insect courtship rituals and intimacy, or what entomologists sometimes call "insect wedding photography."
The Bay Area-based SaveNature.Org, a non-profit conservation organization, and its Insect Discovery Lab will sponsor an "Insect Palooza Happy Hour!" on Thursday, June 25 from 4 to 5 p.m. on the Zoom live video platform.
"Professor Norm" (that's Norman Gershenz, chief executive officer and co-founder) will preside and answer questions.
"Insects inspire our emotions--find out about mate guarding and courtship rituals," says Gershenz, who estimates the world insect population at more than 50 million species.
The Insect Palooza is limited to 25 adult participants. Registrants (register here at $15 per person).will receive a unique link. The virtual event will start exactly at 4 p.m., with 5-10 minutes allocated for questions and answers at the end of the program.
Gershenz and his wife, Leslie-Saul Gershenz, Ph.D., a bee scientist with the USDA laboratory on the UC Davis campus (she holds a doctorate in entomology from the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology), co-founded SaveNature.Org. Their work has drawn a number of awards as well as international attention from National Geographic, Time magazine, ABC's "World News Tonight," and other news media.
SaveNature.Org, dedicated to international conservation, has raised more than $4.7 million to help preserve thousands of acres of rain forest, coral reef and desert habitat around the world, said Gershenz, who created and developed the first Adopt-an-Acre program in the United States, as well as the award-winning Conservation Parking Meter. His credentials include 18 years with the San Francisco Zoo as an educator, member of the animal care staff, fundraiser, and researcher. In addition, he has worked as a field biologist and naturalist in Borneo, Malaysia, India, Nepal, Costa Rica and Namibia.
Chemical ecologist and conservation biologist Leslie Saul-Gershenz of UC Davis and Norman Gershenz, conservation biologist and CEO of SaveNature.Org, will speak on “Is Insect Biodiversity, Biomass and Abundance Declining? What Can Be Done If It Is?” at a public talk on Monday night, March 2, at the Hillside Club's Fireside Lecture Series, Berkeley.
The husband-wife team of environmental scientists will address the audience at 7:30 p.m. The Bay Area venue is in north Berkeley at 2286 Cedar St., between Spruce and Arch streets. (See directions)
They will discuss what factors are affecting native bees and insect populations in California and around the world; review some of the latest body of literature on insect declines; and relate how people can participate to make a positive difference.
Also as part of the Fireside Lecture Series, Kathy Kramer, founder and coordinator of the “Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour” will discuss “Garden as If Life Depends on It: How Bringing Back the Natives Can Help You Do So” at 7:30 p.m., Monday, April 6.
The events are free and open to the public, but a $10 donation per talk is requested to benefit the speaker fund.
Leslie, who received her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, is associate director of research, Wild Energy Initiative, John Muir Institute of the Environment, and on March 1, will join the research team at the USDA-ARS Invasive Species and Pollinator Health Research Unit, Davis. She will continue collaborating with the John Muir Institute.
Norm and Leslie co-founded SaveNature.Org, an international conservation program, to "protect terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems worldwide and to inspire stewardship in the public through hands-on education programs." Norm serves as the chief executive officer and director of the Insect Discovery Lab (IDL). (See article on the duo.)
SaveNature.Org conducts nearly 800 hands-on conservation education programs in schools throughout the Greater Bay Area, and reaches more than 38,500 children annually with its IDL. Their work has been highlighted in National Geographic, Time magazine, and ABC's World News Tonight. Robert Pringle's recent article, Upgrading Protected Areas to Conserve Wild Biodiversity, in the journal Nature, details the organization's collaborative work to increase the size of protected areas.
The Hillside Club is a neighborhood social club established in 1898 to promote good design practices in the Berkeley hills; today it is a community-based membership organization supporting the arts and culture.
Odds are that the children who attend the SaveNature.Org insect-themed sessions in Berkeley will.
The husband-wife team of Norman Gershenz and Leslie-Saul Gershenz and their staff have taught a class for young enthusiastic insect lovers for the past two years at UC Berkeley's summer Elementary Division summer school.
It's not so-much a labor of love, but a love of insects and the drive to teach youngsters about them. The couple founded SaveNature.Org, a non-profit, Bay Area-based organization, to inspire "participation and awareness in the preservation of fragile ecosystems by providing opportunities for personal direct action to save the diversity of life on Earth." Norman, a biologist, serves as the executive director. Leslie, an entomologist, holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis and now serves as the associate director of research for the Wild Energy Initiative, John Muir Institute of the Environment, UC Davis.
The three-week class drew many repeat attendees from last year. Yes, the fascination with insects is contagious! Indeed, there's a lot to study. The global population of described species of insects totals more than a million, with millions more--maybe as many as 30 million more?--yet to be discovered.
"Insects are everywhere," says Norman Gershenz on his website. "In fact, there are more insects than any other type of animal on earth. This is true no matter how you measure their numbers – in terms of individuals or species. One scientist calculated that for every person on earth, there are about 200 million insects alive at any one time. More than 75 percent of all the named animal species are insects and there are millions of insect species yet to be discovered, named and classified!"
Their goal: "to build strong connections to nature using insects and arthropods, teaching about their connections with plants and other animals including humans through positive hands-on experiences!"
UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Education administers the Academic Talent Development Program, which offers a variety of stimulating and challenging classes designed for academic advancement and enrichment.
It works like this: Students with exceptional academic promise are invited to a three-week summer session. "The Elementary Division courses unite teachers who love to teach with students who love to learn," Leslie says.
For the last two years, SaveNature.Org has taught its Nature Academy class, highlighting insects, and the Insect Discovery Lab where students explore the fascinating lives of beetles, millipedes, walking sticks, whip scorpions and more. "We introduce students to the extraordinary world of insects and other arthropods, and learn about their key role in the web of life," the scientists said. The youths learn how to collect insects in the field while doing scientific observation, identifying insects, learning about the natural history of insects' lives.
SaveNature.Org is currently searching for funding the Nature Academy's Insect Discovery Lab into underserved schools throughout the East Bay. See GoFundMe account.
The organization is based at 699 Mississippi St., Suite 106, San Francisco, CA 94107. Further information is available on the website or by telephoning (415) 648-3390. It also maintains a Facebook page.