Last year a friend of mine posted a picture on Facebook of a group of us back in preschool. When the comments were being posted about who was who someone said “ There is Christy in the red striped shirt with an insect in her pocket, no doubt.” Even at fours years old I was already known for playing with bugs and I do not remember a time that I did not have a Bug Zoo in my bedroom. I know I drove my Mom crazy dirtying up her jars and the chasing the many escapees that wandered around the house.
Fast forward a few years (OK maybe a few decades and Bachelors in Entomology later), I read in my local paper about an insect group meeting that weekend at the Oakland Nature Preserve (ONP), which is just a couple of miles away from my home in Winter Garden Florida. I was so excited to meet and hang out with fellow insect geeks as for many years I had felt alone. At my first meeting I meet a fellow Entomologist Christian Miller whom was the gentleman running the group.
After swapping war stories about our mutual love of insects he asked me to speak to
the group the next month about Urban Entomology. Like most people, public speaking scares me but I went whole hog making Power Point slides and even bought my own slide clicker. When Christian saw how passionate I was about teaching the public about insects he had me do even more lectures and I was off and running. Ultimately he stepped down to pursue other interests and I took over running the group, which I have been doing for over seven years. I christened the group
Central Florida Insects Enthusiasts and we meet the first Saturday of every month with an Insect Lecture followed by an Insect
Safari in the ONP. On our Insect Safaris we have collected many different species of insects, spiders, various other arthropods and plus the occasional snake or lizard.
I like to think of myself as an ambassador for creepy crawly critters. Because of my work
with Oakland Nature Preserve I have been asked to lecture and bring my Traveling Insect Zoo at schools and other events. I have moved from glass jars to plenty of plastic containers so that the people will
pick up the containers to get a closer look at the insects. One of my favorite things is listening to kids squeal when I bring out a big Florida Woods Roach and then watching their faces change from fear to fascination when they let the roach crawl on their hand. I realize not everyone will learn to love insects like I do, but my goal is to get people over their complete fear of them and wishing them all dead.
Christy LeDuc studied at Florida A&M University Class of 1992. She has a · BS Entomology
and Structural Pest Control · Minor: Chemistry · Minor: Biology · Tallahassee, Florida and her Facebook group can be found by clicking this link.
Her passion is on display at the Oakland Nature Preserve where insect enthusiasts meet to discuss, learn, collect insects in the Preserve in Oakland Florida on the first Saturday of the month at noon.