The Teacher’s Teachers

Hi, I’m Tina Scherman, Roger Tory Peterson Institute’s educator.  I occasionally “hang with” the PWA Ambassadors.  Although I provide some education when I get questions from them which I can sometimes answer, it is actually they who are are educating me.  They are in a constant state of discovery and there is so much they can tell me.

For example, I am aware of and admire dragonflies and damselflies but know little about them.  The other week when kayaking on the Chadakoin River with the Ambassadors I noticed damselflies skimming over the water in tandem.  I deduced that these damselflies were mated pairs.  Encouraged by an ambassador to look closer I could see that only the one in front was actually flying.  The ambassador explained that this was the male, identified by his brighter color.  He was carrying the female as she tapped the surface of the water with her abdomen, depositing eggs.  The ambassador further pointed out that the pair would “make a circle” where the female would swing her long abdomen up and touch the male’s abdomen to pick up sperm.

Orange Bluet (Enallagma signatum) damselfly-4266

Originally I could identify the creatures I saw that day on the river as damselflies but the PWA ambassador knew that these damselflies were Bluets, a particular group of damselflies. What’s more I learned that there are many different species of Bluets including an Orange Bluet.

Here I was the nature teacher seeing pretty little blue damselflies flitting over the water with only a vague knowledge of who they were and what they were doing being taught by someone fulfilling his role, that of Ambassador for nature study.

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