Omaha Moth Night
July 27th, 2017
CRANE: “I remember the first time when I was a kid I brought in an ootheca, a mantis egg case into a terrarium and just left it in there over the winter and itâ€™s inside, so it doesnâ€™t think itâ€™s cold anymore. So, the eggs hatch and then you have hundreds of tiny little pseudo-nymph praying mantises dripping into the terrarium and then itâ€™s like, â€œItâ€™s winter, what am I going to feed these thingsâ€?â€
That was River and Wetlands ecologist, Dave Crane sharing an early memory of exploring the world and life of insects and he hasnâ€™t stopped since. He at entomologist, Andy Matz created a new event here in Omaha called, Omaha Moth Night. Matz shares an equal passion for entomology and after holding this event in Lincoln for three years, decided to bring it here.
MATZ: â€œFor me, insects have always been an interest for me, since I was born. I always tell people thatâ€™s the way to good lord made me.â€
Crane and Matz have brought you Omahaâ€™s Bug Symposium and couldnâ€™t wait for another year before they put on another educational exhibit. They will each be giving lectures including visuals of what they have found.
CRANE: â€œIâ€™ve always had an interest for insects and other macro-invertebrates. I used to collect them as a kid. And about ten years ago, I obtained my first digital camera and from the first moment I turned the lens on to a bug I havenâ€™t stopped taking photos of bugs since. I have some very high powered microscopic lenses and so what my presentation is usually about is telling abuot the life history of the insect or some behavioral aspect that is going on in the photo or typically a series of photos. Then Iâ€™ll just zoom in way in on a body part of the setios compound eye of a moth or look at the individual scale structures and talk a little bit about the function of different types of scales. I think this presentation style serves my photos really well because they are very, very detailed, very high resolution and when they are plastered on a 10×10 foot projector wall I can really zoom in and show people stuff that is normally isnâ€™t visible to the naked eye.â€
MATZ: “Thatâ€™s the thing, the reason why people like mothâ€™s is because everyone gets a chance to see them, no matter who you are. As long as you have a porch light, you have seen some moth that has intrigued you. Even the small ones can be amazing, especially when you zoom in the way Dave does.”
These unique and educational events arenâ€™t just happening here in Omaha.
CRANE: â€œThe last week of July is â€œNational Moth Weekâ€, it could be called â€œInternational Moth Weekâ€ because there are 30 countries that conduct mothing throughout this entire week. So like Andy was saying, going out and looking for caterpillars during the day and setting up a light trap. A big 400 watt light bulb shining on a white sheet looking for the adults coming by at night. â€œOmaha Moth Nightâ€ came about because we didnâ€™t want to wait another year to do this fun event. It was the perfect excuse and we could make it official. Itâ€™s now officially register on the National Moth Week webpage. Whatever that means.â€
MATZ: â€Itâ€™s officially the weirdest event on that page Iâ€™m sure. Iâ€™m going to bring as many preserved insects as I can. I have been pitting insects for a very long time. I taught if for six semesters as a TA when I was in UNL, so Iâ€™ve been doing it for a long time. If anybody wants to learn how to do it, Iâ€™d be happy to teach them. If thereâ€™s interest, weâ€™ll do it.â€
Between lectures there will be musical entertainment, along with costume and art contests. They encourage you to bring and show off your artwork, in an atmosphere that calls for audience participation.
CRANE: â€œThe judging Iâ€™d say isnâ€™t arbitrary or subjective. For the art contest we have wall space and tables and whatever medium somebody brings in, we try to set up room for them to be showcases properly. And then, people come throughout the night and vote for those.”
MATZ: â€œAnd one thing with the art contest because I got this question a lot, any medium. We are interested in anything as long as it has something conceivably to do with moths, or whatever. Whatever medium you want, within reason, go for it. Whether thatâ€™s digital art, pin moths, paintings, sculptors, letâ€™s do it.â€
Co-organizers of “Omaha Moth Night” Dave Crane and Andy Matz. The event is being held this Saturday, July 29th at Midtown Art on 25th and Harney. Doors open at 7pm and remain open until 3am. Refreshments will be provided. This event is 21+ and tickets are sold at the door. For more information about the event visit their Facebook page, Omaha Moth Night.
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