J.J. Cardinal's Wild Bird & Nature Store
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Better than Disney!
self portrait - circa 1996


Dear Friends:

From May through August, we offer many species of lepidoptera for sale and donate some to school groups and summer camps for the purpose of education with the hope of inspiring some young minds into appreciating the natural world.

One day an eager curious-minded young lad came into the store with his insect net in outstretched arm, inflated, and ready to be filled with what would turn out to be a fun summer project that overshadowed every thing (including a trip to Disney Land) else his Mother had planned. His Mother had been in earlier that day to inquire about whether or not her five-year-old son would be old enough to understand and enjoy rearing a cecropia caterpillar. We showed her pictures of the life cycle of cecropia, discussed the length of rearing and shared with her some of the highlights: molting, eating, and cleaning! She decided that her son, Matthew, was old enough to understand the commitment and told us she would be back with him later.


Matthew approached the counter, placed his insect chamber on the counter top, and said excitedly "I'm here to pick out my cartoonapillar!" We all smiled and tried not to giggle to embarrass him, and explained the correct name of the larva was caterpillar not cartoonapillar.

Matthew's cecropia wandered off its lilac branch this past Sunday and crawled, for the last time, into a corner of his bug chamber. The cecropia (now named Chomp!) was beginning its last stage as a caterpillar, wrapping itself in the paper toweling that was lining the chamber; Matthew was feeling a sense of loss. He called this afternoon to tell me what had occurred and I reminded him that this meant he had done a good job and that he will be rewarded next spring when Chomp emerges as a big beautiful and colorful cecropia moth!
      Louise Dawson

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J.J. Cardinal's Wild Bird & Nature Store ®
12830 S. Saginaw Street, Grand Blanc, Michigan   810-695-8733
originally posted 7/31/02 illustrations, text & fun © LAD, Inc. 2003
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