The day after Christmas in 2015 I received an email message from a Jan Nishimura with the subject line “Do you still need volunteers to catalog specimens?” She had read the August 2015 Columbus Dispatch article “Making a dent in a backlog of bugs” and was interested in volunteering to help us tackle the collection backlog.
Of course I was delighted. Very few gifts make a Curator happier than someone willing to invest their time, energy, and knowledge to help maintain and enhance the collection. When Jan came over to visit for the first time I felt like I was getting reacquainted with an old friend. Her personality is so warm and welcoming you cannot help but like her, and she’s got this laugh that makes you want to relax and listen to her.
On January 13th, 2016 Jan started volunteering at the collection. In the weeks that followed, she learned about specimen databasing and also helped with a few general tasks. She was very interested in the parasitic wasps (“so many, so tiny”). Since the mini wasps are a very big portion of our backlog, and she was interested, I suggested that she tried her hand at mounting specimens. She struggled a bit in the beginning (everyone does!), but she persevered and kept practicing.
One year has passed since Jan has started volunteering at the Triplehorn collection. She’s now very good at mounting parasitoid wasps and has learned how to mount beetles as well. She’s become one of the team and has been making awesome inroads into the collection’s backlog.
We cherish Jan’s contribution to the collection and her friendship. Thank you, Jan! Happy 1 year anniversary! Here’s to another great year!
About the Author: Luciana Musetti is an Entomologist and the current Curator of the Triplehorn Insect Collection.