What we do
About the T.E.A.
Milestones (for more details, see the April 2010 issue of Ontario Insects, p. 42)
1967: A Toronto branch of the Michigan Entomological Society is founded by 3 people from the Royal Ontario Museum and one their spouses. The first meeting of the Association is held Sept. 17, 1967 in High Park, Toronto.
1969: The Toronto Entomologists' Association (TEA) becomes an independent organization and welcomes members throughout Ontario. Early TEA members were given a membership certificate, and each year on membership renewal, were given a shiny gold sticker with the year printed on the sticker to add to this certificate (see an example, with stickers for 1971 and 1972). Today, the majority (57%) of our members are from outside the Greater Toronto area.
1970: The TEA publishes its first annual seasonal summary of butterfly records from across Ontario. The series habeen continued right up to the present day. Since moth records are included in some years, it is now called Ontario Lepidoptera. Over 2,600 pages of records have been published.
1979: We become a member group of Ontario Nature, which is an umbrella organization for naturalists’ groups in Ontario. In 2010, our status changes to "provincial partner," reflecting our province-wide interests.
1991: With $24,000 of funding from the Ontario government and several foundations and charities, we publish 1,000 copies of a 165-page book, The Ontario Butterfly Atlas. Using data from the seasonal summaries, the book shows distribution maps for each species. To manage the flurry of activity around the Atlas, the TEA creates a Board of Directors.
1992: The TEA sponsors its first butterfly count in the Rouge River and Don River valleys in eastern Toronto, under the direction of Tom Mason of the Toronto Zoo and following the format promoted by the North American Butterfly Association (NABA). In 2014, there were 34 such counts across Ontario sponsored by various groups, and TEA members were involved in almost all of them.
1993: The TEA welcomes its 100th member. Today, there are about 160 members.
1994: We hold our first Student Symposium, which is now the March meeting of every year. Since 2000, one of the presenters at the Symposium receives the Eberlie award for research travel, which is named in honour of TEA past president John Eberlie. The amount is now $400.
1995: We publish the first regular edition of our newsletter Ontario Insects, which appears three times per year. In 2014, 76 pages of articles were published.
1995: The popular butterfly count idea is extended to dragonflies and damselflies , as Colin Jones organizes a Highway 60 Algonquin Odonata Count. In 2014, there were 12 Odonate counts in Ontario.
1996: The TEA becomes a registered charity, which allows us to issue tax receipts for donations. Our charitable goals are insect education, insect research and insect conservation.
2000: The TEA obtains a permit from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) for the rearing or collecting of the monarch butterfly and most swallowtail species. Members whose names are listed with the MNR are exempted from the normal legal rule limiting such activities to one specimen, although other limits apply. The permit lapsed for some years, but have been renewed annually from 2010 to the present (2015).
2000: The TEA publishes the first volume of Ontario Odonata, our seasonal summary of records of dragonflies and damselflies from across Ontario. The publication lapsed after 2005, but the records content is to be revived in the form of an Odonata atlas on the web.
2000: We start an email list advising TEA members and others of our meetings and field trips. Over 250 people now subscribe.
2001: The TEA starts a website under the domain name www.ontarioinsects.org. The website now includes 124 separate web pages and over 4,000 pages of documents in pdf form, including older seasonal summaries and issues of Ontario Insects.
2010: Our magazine Ontario Insects begins to publish in full colour.
2011: In November, we hold the first Quimby F. Hess Annual Lecture, sponsored by his family in his memory. Speaker: Peter Hall. This has been a fixture of our meetings calendar ever since, with the seventh Hess lecture occurring in December 2017. Read more about this lecture series here.
2011: The Ontario Butterfly Atlas Online -- a web-based butterfly atlas, to replace the print version from 1991 -- is born in April.
2015: Louis Handfield, author of a 2-volume monograph on Quebec lepidoptera entitled "Le Guide des Papillons du Québec", wins the Entomological Society of Canada's Norman Criddle Award. This award is to recognize the contribution of an outstanding non-professional entomologist to the furtherance of entomology in Canada. Louis is the fourth TEA member to win this award, after Alan Hanks in 1982, Ross Layberry in 2001, and Alan Macnaughton in 2013.
2017: In the spring, The TEA launches the Ontario Silkmoth & Sphinx Moth Atlas and the Prairie Provinces Butterfly Atlas. Also, Bill McIlveen wins Ontario Nature's W. W. H. Gunn Conservation Award. He is the second TEA member to receive this award, after Bob Bowles in 2006.
Much TEA history is also reflected in the TEA newsletters, which appeared starting in the mid-1960s and have continued until the present day.
Presidents of the T.E.A.
TEA Recording Secretaries
Editors of Ontario Lepidoptera (seasonal summaries)
Editors of Ontario Odonata (seasonal summaries)
Editors of Ontario Insects
Our Conservation Efforts
One thing that has become apparent to the membership through the T.E.A. summaries is that there are several butterfly species in Ontario that appear to have low numbers of reports. The Association has been particularly involved with three species -- the West Virginia White, the Frosted Elfin and the Karner Blue.
In 1970 the only known locality for the
West Virginia White, in the Halton County Forest, was under threat of
quarrying by the Aggregate Producers Association of Ontario. A letter
was sent by Paul Catling to the Dept. of Lands & Forests in Toronto
apprising them of the situation and the potential quarrying operation
was halted. In 1974, another letter was sent to the Ministry of Natural
Resources (M.N.R.) requesting the butterfly be protected under the Endangered
Species Act and in 1975 a publication was produced on the butterfly
with all relevant data. In 1976 the butterfly was listed as an endangered
species. Then, in 1977, a new Hydro corridor was proposed to pass through
the Halton Co. Forest and letters were sent to the Ontario Hydro Chairman
and the M.N.R. A task force was set up within Ontario Hydro and in 1978,
the proposed corridor was diverted around the area of concern.
Now, consideration is being given to re-introducing the Karner Blue to Ontario. The September 2011 issue of Ontario Insects reported on a meeting of the TEA and other groups to plan this effort. However, there is a shortage of livestock for this species and plans are on hold for now (as of 2017). See the Karner Blue project's website.