Posted by Carol Stocker
Secrets in Your Backyard will be the title of a live caterpillar show at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston Sunday, August 25, 10am-4pm
Samuel Jaffe, life-long naturalist, trained biologist, photographer and passionate
educator, brings his "Caterpillars of Massachusetts" show to Tower Hill Botanic
Garden for those who want to get an up close and personal look at these bizarre yet fascinating garden visitors.
Jaffe, 30, is from Newton, Mass., and he earned a biology degree from Brown University,
and then worked on a study at Harvard University that examined interactions between
ants and caterpillars. He's now an environmental education major at Antioch University
Jaffe first started taking photos of native New England caterpillars in 2008. "I did not imagine at the time the power that these images would have to open people's
eyes to the wonders of their own back yards," says Jaffe, "but after my first exhibit
it was clear that caterpillars were special."
As Jaffe put it, he started his journey of exploring these bizarre native beauties
and soon realized that photography alone was not sufficient in demonstrating caterpillars'
charisma. Jaffe then organized his first caterpillar show and that's when the Caterpillar
Project was born.
This summer, as part of the Caterpillar Project, Jaffe is touring around New England
with native live caterpillars and his photo gallery. With magnifying glasses provided,
the show offers a special glimpse into the varied and dynamic world of these wonderful
caterpillars which each have their unique way of disguising and defending themselves
in natural surroundings. The show will also reveal the secrets of caterpillars:
why they are called the "eating machines," how they breathe and sense, and most
fascinating, their art of survival.
Caterpillars are the master of disguise. The Abbott's
Sphinx caterpillar sports a camouflage of brown skin with green dots that run along
its body, making it look just like its host plant -the Grapevine. And you could
hardly spot the Oak Beauty caterpillars in the woods because they mimic a twig so
cleverly that there's barely any contrast between the caterpillar and the wood.
But hiding is not always the best way to survive form predators. They also develop
some dazzling moves for their own protection. The Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar
can perform an impressive snake mimic. And the White Furcula caterpillar, when disturbed, will inflate its two tail-looking, modified rear pro-legs and whip these tassels over and around itself.
The Live Caterpillar Show is included with regular Garden admission: $12 Adults,
$9 Seniors (65+), $7 Youth (6-18), and FREE for Tower Hill Members and Children
under 6. WOO Card holders earn points and gain discounted admission. The Garden
is located at 11 French Drive, Boylston, Massachusetts, exit 24 off Route 290.
For details and directions, call 508-869-6111 or visit the Garden's website at www.towerhillbg.org
It is the home of the Worcester County Horticultural Society, incorporated in 1842
for the purpose of "advancing the science, and encouraging and improving the practice
of horticulture." Located on 132 acres of garden paradise in bucolic Boylston, Massachusetts, the Garden hosts educational programs, exhibits, shows, and special events throughout the year.