Biography of Gary Anweiler
by Gregory Pohl, Canadian Forest Service
Over the past 15 years, Gary has developed his enthusiasm for Lepidoptera, to become one of the premier experts on Noctuids in North America. This has all been done on his own time, after his regular working hours. He has always shared his time freely, helping many others and spreading his infectious enthusiasm. He has made a huge contribution to entomology in Alberta. He was instrumental in bringing together local lepidopterists, at first informally, but later as the Alberta Lepidopterists' Guild, which incorporated as a society in December 1999. He was the founding president and currently serves as Secretary/Treasurer. Considered an unofficial "goodwill ambassador" for Alberta Lepidopterology, Gary is always willing to host a social gathering, or lead a collecting trip when a visiting collector comes through town. He has donated countless hours of his time to the Strickland Museum at the University of Alberta, as well as to other institutions. Currently, Gary is finishing up a revision of the genus Panthea of North America, is involved in several biological surveys of special places and protected areas, and is responsible for the Noctuoidea section of a comprehensive checklist of the Lepidoptera of Alberta in preparation.

Gary was born in Melville, Saskatchewan, in 1944. He grew up with a keen interest in biology. In combination with some colorful adventures in California, Mexico, and British Columbia in the 1960s and 70s, Gary worked as a consultant bird biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Service and a number of consulting firms. He moved to British Columbia in the early 1980s, and lived for a time on the former homestead of Rev. G.W. Taylor, a prominent Lepidoptera collector of the late 1800s. While there, he rekindled an interest in insects, initially with butterflies, but turning quickly to the much less collected moths. He moved to Edmonton about 1990 to be with his new-found love, now his wife, Judy, and found work in building maintenance and management. In Edmonton Gary continued to collect and study moths, primarily Noctuoidea, greatly stimulated by access to the Strickland collection at the University of Alberta and the encouragement of Dr. George Ball. Initially he re-organized the three macrolepidoptera collections in Edmonton, at the Provincial Museum of Alberta, the Canadian Forest Service and the University of Alberta. He was never one to sit back when he ran into a stumbling block in the way of an identification. When he ran into an unresolved taxonomic problem, he simply started digging, and doing his own taxonomic work. He quickly connected with researchers at the U of A and CFS in Edmonton, as well as with other local collectors. His ties to the University of Alberta's Strickland Museum grew, and when the museum began a major reorganisation and update of the Lepidoptera section in the late 1990s, Gary was a regular volunteer. Over the past 5 years, he has contributed vast amounts of time and energy to organising the collection, databasing specimens, and writing species pages for the new Virtual Museum, mostly on his own time. By this time, Gary was spending a couple of nights a week and parts of most weekends at the Strickland Museum working in the collection. In 2003 he retired and now spends most of his time with his avocation. Throughout this time, he has been a keen collector in western Canada, always with the pursuit of knowledge, rather than the acquisition of a personal collection, as the driving force. He has been transferring his collection to the Strickland Museum, and many times he has made special efforts to collect particular species for researchers throughout North America. Equal to his boundless energy is his strong sense that we are all in this endeavor together - he's just as happy helping someone across the continent with an identification, or collecting specimens for some genetic work, as he is pursuing his own projects. Besides his work at the Strickland Museum, Gary has contributed many hours to the CFS and Olds College collections, and he has helped CFS researchers, U of Alberta graduate students, and many other collectors in western Canada. He has been invited on survey trips to remote northeastern Alberta, by the Parks and Protected Areas Division of the Alberta government, and has also undertaken his own informal (but no less rigorous) survey work. He has also helped assemble various distribution lists and species at risk lists for a number of agencies.

Gary is a member of the Entomological Society of Alberta, The Entomological Society of Canada, and the International Lepidopterists' Society, and is the founding president of the Alberta Lepidopterists' Guild. He has recently been elected a Vice-President of the Lepidopterists' Society, and is also a member of the Names Committee and Chair of the Membership Committee. He played a major role in the Alberta Lepidopterists’ Guild's hosting, with Olds College and the U of A, the Lepidopterists' Society meeting in Olds in 2003. He also serves as a member of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) Arthropods Species Specialist Subcommittee.

Based on his accomplishments and contributions to Entomology in Alberta, I enthusiastically support recognition of Gary Anweiler’s accomplishments with the Entomological Society of Alberta's Frederick S. Carr Award for amateur entomology.


Updated: December 30, 2007

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