Home About Archives RSS Feed

The Last of the Insects

Nichole Dupont

Courtesy photo

Rene Wendell has collected thousands of insects during his forays into the Berkshire woods and meadows.

SHEFFIELD, Mass. — Rene Wendell has been around the woods more than a few times. The 94-year-old Pittsfield native and former tracker and taxidermist is an avid collector of all things wild including flies and beetles and, of course, several decades of memories. 

"I grew up around Burbank Park," he said in a phone interview. "As a kid, the woods were my playground and I was obsessive about animals. That was 70 or 80 years ago, can you imagine? It's been very interesting, I've seen a lot of changes here over the years."

These changes aren't all good. Wendell said that in his many outdoor adventures he has noticed a significant drop in the amount of birds and butterflies that used to fly in abundance in the Berkshires.

"I know it's because of the environment," he said. "A lot of the birds and butterflies are gone. Some of them left because of the environment. This place has changed from open fields to forest, the whole landscape is different."

Fortunately, Wendell has collected thousands of butterflies and insects over the years and he wants to share his collection with others. On Thursday, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m. at Bartholomew's Cobble, Wendell will present his impressive, well-preserved collection of flies, wasps, beetles, butterflies and moths — all of which he has found on his many forays into the Berkshire meadows and forests.

Strangely enough, Wendell said his favorite specimens have always been the long-horned beetle, an insect many gardeners brush off as destructive pests. It's not the habits of the beetle that concern him.

"I've always loved the way they're shaped and the different colors they have," he said. "That and moths. Moths are beautiful. The ratio of moths to butterflies in the area is 14 to one."

For the most part, Wendell is done adding to his collection. However, there is one insect that has eluded him for years and he hopes that this year he will finally find it.

"There's one more butterfly that I want for my collection," he said. "It's a giant swallowtail butterfly. I've seen them in Sheffield and I keep going back to find them but so far no luck."

For more information about Wendell's presentation call 413-229-8600. Registration is strongly suggested.

Tags: Rene Wendell, insects, Bartholomew's Cobble      
News Headlines
Q&A: Pownal Woman Conquers Appalachian Trail After Detour
North Adams Recovery Event Hears Voices of Recovery, Pain
Lanesborough's First New Firetruck in 20 Years Has Arrived
Buddy Walk Unites Families - And Athletes, Too, This Year
Adams to Test Memorial Building for Mold
BRTA Considering New Loop Route for North Adams
Darrow School Senior Nets Second Place in Poetry Conest
Fulbright Teaching Assistant Joins Williams College
Norman Rockwell Museum Welcomes New Board of Trustees Members
Cultural Pittsfield This Week: Sept. 23-29


Categories:
Culture (10)
History (3)
Museums (1)
Nature (5)
Real Estate (4)
Shopping (6)
Archives:
Tags:
Pittsfield Birds Barrington Great Lenox Karen Rene Wendell Projectnorman Berkshire Humane Society Fire Station Service Bird Count Survey Contest Year's Berkshire Vacation Insects Closing Salt Bakery Bartholomew's Cobble Great Barrington Brother School Other Celebrities Archives Verizon Pink Mountain New Ideas Lee Darryl's
Popular Entries:
The Last of the Insects
Schooled in Passion: Packer's "Women of Will" at Shake & Co.
Norman Rockwell Archive Goes Live Online
New To Me: the Boho Exchange
Pittsfield Through the Lens
Is Verizon Making Good on Its Word?
Could New Neighbors Be Wall Street Journal Heirs?
Late-Night Host Fallon Skis Butternut
Third Thursday Feast
Inside/Out not upside down
Recent Entries:
Schooled in Passion: Packer's "Women of Will" at Shake & Co.
A Place for Us: Re-Wear Brings Style to Sheffield
Richmond Still Looking For Town Clerk
The Last of the Insects
Is Verizon Making Good on Its Word?
Building Collapses in Great Barrington
Could New Neighbors Be Wall Street Journal Heirs?
Mother Nature is No Match for Cheese
Construct Running Out of Emergency Funds
Winter Breakdown at Ben's in Lee