Non-unnecessary carnage
May 20, 2010
When I was a child I decided I wanted a bug collection. There was one in my elementary school class. After getting instructions from the teacher on how to trap bugs in a jar and put various chemicals on cotton balls to dispatch them before pinning them to cardboard I walked away confused and sad. Then one day I was walking through a parking lot with my father and I noticed the huge amount of dead bugs on the radiators of cars (I grew up in Florida.). For the entire next year my father dutifully stood by explaining what I was doing to car owners as I plucked the least broken specimens off the radiators to later place on my board. At the end of the year I had more bugs than any other student, even many no one had seen (Northern visitors!) Now I am grown and photograph w ild edible plants and mushrooms. To prove my lack of unnecessary carnage I am attaching some of my photos. The woolly bear visited while we were digging Jerusalem Artichoke tubers and was released. PS. The stink bug in the upper right of the beautiful spring greens salad was released outside before we ate the salad.
Your friend, Nancy
Mexico, New York of all places

Stink Bug

Hi Nancy,
We love your letter.  We are going to try to search our own massive archives to find one of the most beautiful photos we have ever posted of the grill of an automobile encrusted with insects. The posting is called Car Grill Road Kill.

Hahahahaha! That is so funny as sad as it is. Try Florida radiators in June. I live in upstate NY now. I will take a walk around a few parking lots in the next couple of days and shoot some radiators and see what I can find. The folks that live here in the summer but flee to Florida in the winter are returning now, maybe I can find a good shot of unnecessary carnage of biblical proportions to send to you. I think these radiator dead soldiers should not have died in vain and schools should use them for projects rather than the usual search and destroy missions they use now.
By the way, I love your site and I send it to scientists, students and friends all the time. I am an Information Technology Manager for an Environmental Non-profit group and a long standing member of The Central New York Mycological Society. We spend a lot of time outside studying many things with students and your site is my “GoTo” site when the students find bugs. But they go to your site with macro photos, not actual bugs.
Thank you from us all.

Hi Nancy,
I horrified many of my coworkers by picking and eating Morels from the newly landscaped portions of the Los Angeles City College campus this past April.  All the mulch and the late rains caused the tasty mushrooms to proliferate.

Hi Daniel,
You lucky mycophogist you. I hate to say I winced a bit at the location that you found the morels. Please keep in mind that all fungi excel at absorbing and retaining heavy metals and other chemicals. They are so good at it that they are a subject of much research to see if they can be used to clean land and soil contaminated by people and industry. The most pristine land you can find the better. Areas that can have heavy metals, herbicides, petroleum products, etc. should be avoided. A good site to do a little reading is Paul Stamets is the best person that I know that is involved in mycoremediation. Great stuff.
I saw on your site that you did a lecture today at a local college and you wondered if you should dare stray into the subject of edible insects just before lunch. I’m sorry, but I have to admit, I have dared. The local high school asked me to do a program about wild edible plants and mushrooms for their ROTC students. So considering that the instructor was asking me to cover survival conditions when it came to foraging, I dared. I ordered chocolate covered crickets from Fluker Farms and out of 200 students only one would not eat the cricket. I dare say out of 200 adults I bet I could only get about 25 people to eat the cricket.
I am sorry for the crickets, but if someday a student comes back to me and says eating plants, mushrooms, earth worms and crickets kept them alive while lost in the wilderness……….oh, who am I kidding? I did what the instructor asked me to do. It was funny though when my own daughter who was in ROTC ate the cricket and got a leg caught in her braces the whole class rolled on the floor laughing and are still talking about the incident.
I can’t tell you how much I love your site and your work. Thank you on behalf of many. I will keep promoting your site as long as it is available. I am always saddened how many seemingly intelligent adults and children go “Oh, a bug! squish!” Keep up the wonderful work. I would love to one day see one of your lectures.

Hi again Nancy,
Your kind of letter makes us appreciate the power of sharing information on the internet.  Also, those clover leafs look so tasty in your salad.  We never think of eating clover and there is quite a bit in our own front yard.

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