The Buzz –March 4, 2013

 

We welcome Augustana's Bug Man Tom Terzin speaks about the University's acquisition of a rare and extinct moth from Jamaica.

 
Pesident Shirley called the meeting to order at 11:50 am.

Today’s guests:  Lou Henderson (prospective member and spouse of Morris), Jeff Kensie (prospective member), and our guest speaker Dr. Tom Terzin.  

Health of the Club – All are healthy.

Among today’s Presidential Thank-Yous were: Ron G and his team of Rotarians for their tremendous work building the school in Odoxha; and to Dawn A and Diane M for attending weekend Rotary Training for their coming roles as Club President and Assistant DG respectively.

Announcements – The next Rotary Nite is March 7th. Friday March 8th is the Rotaract Club’s Pub Nite at the Norseman. March 25th the OLMP Inter actors are off to Belize to paint Ron’s school. They are still looking for donations of ball caps and school supplies to take with them. Sign-up sheets are out for the Daybreak Club’s Bowling Day on Sunday 24 February from 3-5pm. The Rotary Youth Leadership Canoe Trip (May 18-24) is still in need of a Rotarian to accompany the other staff. See Ray H for details. And Leroy J has the Black Tie tickets for members to start selling.

Judges Leroy and Morris called for Happy Bucks and Ron G, Jim R, Carman M, Al R, Norm M and Ray H responded.  Morris H levied some interesting fines to Bonnie A, Jim R, Carman M, Dan M, and Dave S, based on historical events or persons that were associated with today’s date.

Bonnie A introduced our guest speaker – Dr. Tomislav Terzin (terzin@ualberta.ca). Tom was born in 1971 in Serbia (former Yugoslavia). He received his PhD from the Western University (former University of Western Ontario) in 2007. His graduate studies were in the field of developmental biology of polyembryonic parasitoid wasps (Nature, 432: 764-769). He is currently Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Alberta, Augustana Faculty. He studies mimicry and development of colour patterns in insects. In his research, Tom uses specimens from his extensive private collection of tropical insects, mostly obtained from eBay and other internet sources.

Tom spoke today on the story behind the "Augustana Moth" - a $6,000$ bug known as the Urania sloanus - the Latin name of one of the world's most beautiful day flying moths, but extinct since the end of 19th century. In September 2012 one perfectly preserved specimen of this moth from an old collection in France was offered on eBay for nearly 6,000 USD. The rest is an extraordinary story of unity and collegiality at Augustana campus, University of Alberta.

To fuel his passion for “bugs”, Tom has amassed a very substantial personal collection of moths and butterflies which he has put on public display for the past few years at Augustana. He is always on the look-out for additions to his collection, so one day last year while surfing the internet (specifically E Bay), Tom came across this offering for the Urania sloanus. Of course the cost was prohibitive and procuring this rare moth seemed just a dream. But he was so excited by the rarity of the find; he sent an e-mail around the campus to share his excitement. Tom was well known across campus for his passion and within an hour or so of his e-mail, he had received a surprising $600 + in pledges of support from staff and faculty.  All of a sudden, this idea took hold in social media and within 24 hours, Tom had seen pledges of more than $6000 roll in, thus giving him this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to obtain this extinct and very rare moth. Tom was quite humbled by the outpouring of support in his passion from the Augustana Community, knowing full well that not many of this community really cared about bugs, but that they cared about Tom’s obvious passion. The moth was successfully packaged and shipped from France and it was quite a time when the parcel was received and opened. As a footnote to the story, apparently the owner of the moth discovered this rarity in the garbage, as a friend was throwing out the remnants of his own personal collection. The fact that this was so rare, but not known to be by the original owner makes the story all that more incredible!

Tom went on at great lengths to acknowledge this fantastic support from the Augustana Community. His story, despite the international and national media coverage, was all about the people of Augustana and their help and interest in his passion. 

Dan Mac thanked Tom on behalf of the Club and told him that we had donated 50 doses of polio vaccine in his name for Rotary’s fight against polio.

The winner of February’s Rotary Cares raffle draw was David Lyseng (ticket sold by Al R) and the winner of the 50/50 draw was President Shirley, who led us in the Four Way test.

Next Meeting: Monday, March 11 at 11:45 a.m. upstairs at the Edgeworth Centre

Guest speaker: Leanne Grant, Area Health Services Director on the Future of Health Care in Alberta

Judges: Norm M and Jim R.

The Rotary Foundation Thought of the Week

Foundation programs. ―Never forget that charitable giving is an emotional response.  Emotion is evident when we are telling the polio eradication story. Telling the Annual Programs Fund story can be equally emotional when we emphasize how lives have been changed through The Rotary Foundation‘s Ambassadorial Scholarships program, Matching Grants, District Simplified Grants, and Group Study Exchange. Real-life examples are critical to success.‖ — Past RRFC Joe LaGuess