On the second Saturday of every month, Howard County Conservancy offers a free program. Perhaps one of the favorites took place on Aug. 16, when the "Bug Man" — aka Mike Raupp — brought his knowledge and collection of insects to the conservancy for the fourth year in a row.
Raupp, a professor at the University of Maryland and a scientist, along with his wife, Paula Shrewsbury, also a scientist, kept the crowd of 72 participants entertained with their talk about butterflies and then a walk through the Conservancy's fields to find the insect, according to Meg Boyd, executive director of Howard County Conservancy.
"Mike has such a great delivery and makes connections with people," Boyd said. "He does a great job. It is a very, very popular program for us."
Every year, Boyd admitted, Raupp's show gets to the "tipping point," attracting all ages from toddlers to seniors, and concerns about closing registration as numbers have grown. Every year, Raupp handles the multi-generational group with ease, she said.
"Mike's got a voice that really carries," Boyd said. "He has a really unique way of connecting with all ages."
The one-hour session began with a talk as Raupp shared his displays of bugs and a few live specimens. For Saturday's show he brought a stick bug and a tarantula. With Monarch butterflies' migration to Mexico around the corner, Raupp talked about the importance of milkweed, a plant, for the Monarch's habitat, and why meadows are needed.
"Everyone is really interested ... by what he says," Boyd said. "It was a terrific program."
Occasionally, Raupp will do another program for the Conservancy, especially if something is going on in the bug world. A few years ago, he did a special program on stink bugs, she said.
"Their knowledge is incredible," Boyd said, of Raupp and Shrewsbury. "They're experts."
The Conservancy's next free program will be on Sept. 13, at 10 a.m., Boyd said, and participants will learn how to create a nature journal and how to observe trees year-round. At the Conservancy's second location, at Belmont, a nature hike will take place. A variety of talks, events and hikes are also available throughout the year for a small fee at both locations.