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About insectsInsects of Ontario
Endangered sp. / Laws
For Ontario Nature
Milestones (for more details, see the April 2010 issue of Ontario Insects, p. 42)
1967: A Toronto-based insect organization, termed the Toronto branch of the Michigan Entomological Society (MES), is founded by 3 people from the Royal Ontario Museum and one of their spouses. The first meeting is held Sept. 17, 1967 in High Park, Toronto. The MES never formally established a Toronto branch.
1969: After a vote of members, the Toronto Entomologists' Association (TEA) is established as an independent organization and welcomes members throughout Ontario. Today, the majority (57%) of our members are from outside the Greater Toronto area. Early TEA members were given a membership certificate, for which a shiny gold sticker was issued on membership renewal each year. The TEA also created crests for members to wear on jackets.
1970: The TEA publishes its first annual seasonal summary of butterfly records from across Ontario. The series habeen continued right up to the present day. Since moth records are included in some years, it is now called Ontario Lepidoptera. Over 2,600 pages of records have been published.
1979: We become a member group of Ontario Nature, which is an umbrella organization for naturalists’ groups in Ontario. In 2010, our status changes to "provincial partner," reflecting our province-wide interests.
1991: With $24,000 of funding from the Ontario government and several foundations and charities, we publish 1,000 copies of a 165-page book, The Ontario Butterfly Atlas. Using data from the seasonal summaries, the book shows distribution maps for each species. To manage the flurry of activity around the Atlas, the TEA creates a Board of Directors.
1992: The TEA sponsors its first butterfly count in the Rouge River and Don River valleys in eastern Toronto, under the direction of Tom Mason of the Toronto Zoo and following the format promoted by the North American Butterfly Association (NABA).
1993: The TEA welcomes its 100th member. Today, there are about 160 members.
1994: We hold our first Student Symposium, which is now the March meeting of every year. Also, for each year since 2000, we have offered a research grant to students.
1995: We publish the first regular edition of our newsletter Ontario Insects, which appears three times per year. In 2014, 76 pages of articles were published.
1995: The popular butterfly count idea is extended to dragonflies and damselflies , as Colin Jones organizes a Highway 60 Algonquin Odonata Count.
1996: The TEA becomes a registered charity, which allows us to issue tax receipts for donations. Our charitable goals are insect education, insect research and insect conservation.
2000: The TEA obtains a permit from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) for the rearing or collecting of the monarch butterfly and most swallowtail species. Members whose names are listed with the MNR are exempted from the normal legal rule limiting such activities to one specimen, although other limits apply. The permit lapsed for some years, but has been renewed annually since 2010.
2000: The TEA publishes the first volume of Ontario Odonata, our seasonal summary of records of dragonflies and damselflies from across Ontario. The publication lapsed after 2005.
2000: We start an email list advising TEA members and others of our meetings and field trips. Over 250 people now subscribe.
2001: The TEA starts a website under the domain name www.ontarioinsects.org. The website now includes 124 separate web pages and over 4,000 pages of documents in pdf form, including older seasonal summaries and issues of Ontario Insects.
2010: Our magazine Ontario Insects begins to publish in full colour.
2011: In November, we hold the first Quimby F. Hess Annual Lecture, sponsored by his family in his memory. Speaker: Peter Hall. This has been a fixture of our meetings calendar ever since, with the exception of the lectures cancelled because of covid in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Read more about this lecture series here.
2011: The Ontario Butterfly Atlas -- a web-based butterfly atlas, to replace the print version from 1991 -- is born in April.
2016: TEA member Alan Macnaughton wins Ontario Nature's Achievement Award "for his commitment to citizen science initiatives through the creation of an interactive mapping application."
2017: In the spring, The TEA launches the Ontario Moth Atlas.
2019: The TEA institutes the Glenn Richardson Research Award, named after our late president, with funding from the Richardson family and TEA members. The amount is $800, which is double the amount we have previously awarded. Also, TEA member Don Davis wins Ontario Nature's W. E. Saunders Natural History Award "for promoting the study, conservation and public awareness of the monarch butterfly."
2021: Rick Cavasin of Ottawa, sponsor of the Ontario Butterflies website and author of various fold-out butterfly guides, wins the Entomological Society of Canada's Norman Criddle Award. This award is to recognize the contribution of an outstanding non-professional entomologist to the furtherance of entomology in Canada. Rick is the fifth TEA member to win this award, after Alan Hanks in 1982, Ross Layberry in 2001, Alan Macnaughton in 2013, and Louis Handfield in 2015. Also, Karen Yukich wins Ontario Nature's W. W. H. Gunn Conservation Award "for her dedication to the restoration and conservation of nature in Toronto's High Park." She is the third TEA member to receive this award, after Bob Bowles in 2006 and Bill McIlveen in 2017. Finally, this summer a group including TEA president Jessica Linton is to re-introduce the Mottled Duskywing butterfly to its former habitat in the Pinery Provincial Park.
For a personal account of T.E.A. history and conservation efforts, see this 2005 article by Alan Hanks in the newsletter of the Michigan Entomological Society (v. 50, nos. 3 and 4). Paul Catling also published an account of T.EA. activities in the 1970s in the 1978 Ontario Naturalist.
Much TEA history is also reflected in the TEA newsletters, which appeared starting in the mid-1960s and have continued until the present day.
Presidents of the T.E.A.
TEA Recording Secretaries
Editors of Ontario Lepidoptera (seasonal summaries)
Editors of Ontario Odonata (seasonal summaries)
Editors of Ontario Insects
Our Conservation Efforts
One thing that has become apparent to the membership through the T.E.A. summaries is that there are several butterfly species in Ontario that appear to have low numbers of reports. The Association has been particularly involved with three species -- the West Virginia White, the Frosted Elfin and the Karner Blue.
In 1970 the only known locality for the
West Virginia White, in the Halton County Forest, was under threat of
quarrying by the Aggregate Producers Association of Ontario. A letter
was sent by Paul Catling to the Dept. of Lands & Forests in Toronto
apprising them of the situation and the potential quarrying operation
was halted. In 1974, another letter was sent to the Ministry of Natural
Resources (M.N.R.) requesting the butterfly be protected under the Endangered
Species Act and in 1975 a publication was produced on the butterfly
with all relevant data. In 1976 the butterfly was listed as an endangered
species. Then, in 1977, a new Hydro corridor was proposed to pass through
the Halton Co. Forest and letters were sent to the Ontario Hydro Chairman
and the M.N.R. A task force was set up within Ontario Hydro and in 1978,
the proposed corridor was diverted around the area of concern.