What's in name? Meet the Spongy Moth | eePRO @ NAAEE

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What's in name? Meet the Spongy Moth

There is a lot of debate regarding historical names for species, both common and scientific. The names may be inaccurate examples of geography, such as the Tennessee Warbler, a boreal forest breeding bird that winters in the tropics, with only brief migratory stopovers in its namesake state.

These names may celebrate white explorers, while excluding the indigenous knowledge and communities that have lived with these animal plants. In other cases, these names may reflect racial slurs, such as the recently renamed gypsy moth. These moths, now known as "Spongy Moths", are a very destructive invasive species that can decimate forests, especially oaks.

Spongy moth is an excellent fit for the species - it accurately describes the sponge-like egg clusters that female moths lay on trees each Fall, prior to the Spring emergence of the species.

Where does this intersect with us as environmental educators? Change can be challenging, especially if we have internalized a name or developed a habit over a long period of time. However, we can all take the lead in sharing these changes, the reasons why, and move us toward a more inclusive (and accurate) approach to labeling the life around us.

Thank you for sharing this insightful post, Jason! This definitely promotes a moment for reflection for ourselves and the information we are sharing with our students and guests. In creating a welcoming, and diverse environment, it is crucial that we consider where the origins of names of species are coming from and how they received that name. Thank you for creating an opportunity, again, for personal reflection and deeper thinking! Really enjoyed this read!

Thanks for the R+/positive reinforcement, Katrina. Let us know if you come across any interesting articles to share with the group - or to spur some blog ideas. Best, Jason