Carmel-by-the-Sea Butterfly Farm
Sheri on the beach in Carmel The Butterfly Conservancy:
Professional Organizations
Butterfly Release Controversy

Sheri S. Moreau, Director, The Butterfly Conservancy & the Carmel-by-the-Sea Release of Wings Butterfly Farm
Moreau has been an avid Lepidoptera enthusiast since childhood. She credits her early interest in butterflies and wild silk moths to the moving tale A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter. "From as far back as I remember, no unknown egg mass, caterpillar or pupa was ever safe from me. I'd bring it home, experiment to determine its host food, then raise and release it," she notes. "When I was 9, my Mom gave me permission to create a weed garden in a corner of our back yard in Massachusetts. It was pretty unsightly, compared to the rest of the yard--but it was always full of fascinating mini-beasts: preying mantids, spiders, fireflies, assorted larvae and nymphs. I loved it! I spent an idyllic childhood running barefoot through the woods (no Lyme's disease back then...), net and collecting jar in hand, with a powerful microscope back home to facilitate evening investigations of pond scum, bird nest biota, and bee venom sacs."

The daughter of an Air Force colonel, Moreau was able to assemble an extensive butterfly and moth collection as a result of their travels in the USA and Far East. "While on Okinawa in the early 1970's, I learned to scuba dive and got involved with the budding salt-water acquaria hobby, yet still continued to pursue my interest in arthropods. The banana spiders in the jungles out there have to be seen to be believed! Unfortunately, my collection was inadvertently left behind when we moved--it was in the top of my closet, safe from my brothers, and the movers simply overlooked it. I never went back to collecting from the wild."

In 1978, Moreau was awarded a BS in Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University. A life-long love of travel prompted her to join the Navy, whereupon she spent a year on Midway Island with the collateral duty of Game Warden to some 5 million Laysan Albatrosses (Gooney Birds) on the most northerly coral atoll in the world. She had subsequent duty tours in England; Italy; Monterey, California; Washington D.C.; and Hawaii, always making it a point to visit butterfly houses, zoos, and natural history museums and collections wherever she journeyed, on duty or on leave. During this time she also earned a Masters in Systems Technology from the Naval Postgraduate School.

In December 1994, Moreau took advantage of the military drawdown program, and elected early retirement from the Navy as a lieutenant commander. Following a year of traveling and writing, she settled in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, and in January 1996 began investigating the possiblity of earning a living teaching about Lepidoptera.

"Rick Mikula once told me, 'The average American cannot name three kinds of butterflies.' I didn't believe him, and set out to disprove his statement. To my dismay, he was right. Even my own sister, who'd shared a room with me for 16 years, was hard put to come up with three species. I later discovered most Californians are unaware of their state butterfly--the California Dogface. And yet, butterflies are around us daily, in nature and in the media: as exquisite, aerial jewels, and as metaphors for life. The wild silk moths are incredibly beautiful, yet completely unknown to most people. To me, this is a real breakdown in our educational system. Children and adults alike are fascinated by insects. I can think of nothing more rewarding to do in my 'second career' than to bring a greater understanding and appreciation of nature and her smaller gifts to those around me. I feel truly blessed each morning to be working in this field and at a job I love."

Moreau is a graduate of Leadership Monterey Peninsula, and is active in the local community. In the past two decades, she has served as an officer and boardmember on several nonprofit boards. From 1993-1995 she spearheaded the restoration of a circa-1881 cactus and succulent garden, now recognized as an historical landmark in Monterey. Her hobbies include scuba diving, sailing, skiing, fibre-art, and gardening. She is a pilot, a PADI scuba instructor, a quilting teacher, and a published author and poet.

From September 1999-March 2000, Moreau will be on sabbatical, visiting butterfly farms and exhibits around the world and working on a novel. 

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