It must take a special person to be an entomologist. They have a fascinating life, circulating around the globe in search of . . . BUGS! Most people do everything in their power to avoid getting near the things that Robert Gallardo is passionate about. Gallardo is a world renowned entomologist who resides in Copan, Honduras. While he studies all types of bugs, Gallardo is particularly passionate about butterflies. His study in the field of butterflies or mariposas as they are known in the Spanish speaking world has led him to the remote jungles of Honduras’ Mosquito Coast in search of new butterflies. Gallardo’s work has been featured in National Geographic Magazine, The Discovery Channel, and numerous television shows.
Just before I left for Central America my wife Cyndi said, “Brian, if you could get me one thing in Central America this year, I’d like a butterfly.” You see, Jeremy, our third child has become somewhat of a junior entomologist himself. Jeremy’s idea of the perfect day would involve catching butterflies. And, with the help of mom, Jeremy puts the butterfly on a specimen board that now houses several beautiful butterflies. Cyndi and Jeremy love this new hobby. When I left the United States I was determined to find a butterfly and get it home for the two of them.
My attempts at catching butterflies have been rather futile. With no net, a busy schedule, and hands that are usually attached to video cameras or digital cameras the best I’ve been able to do is capture digital images of the beautiful creatures. When we entered Honduras, our team ate lunch at the hotel that would house us several days later. A couple of English language travel magazines were available for the general public to have, and the June, 2006 edition of Revue magazine immediately caught my attention. There in front of my eyes was a magazine with a beautiful butterfly gracing the cover. Inside was an article about Robert Gallardo’s Enchanted Wings Butterfly Sanctuary. It turns out that Gallardo has discovered over 30 different types of butterflies previously unknown in Honduras, and two types previously unknown to science. Gallardo proudly raises these in his butterfly sanctuary. I asked Jaime, our Guatemalan missionary if he’d take me to the sanctuary on our return visit to Copan. He assured me that he would.
When we arrived at Enchanted Wings, both Jaime and I were struck by the beautiful butterflies that surrounded us. Hoping to purchase some butterflies that were preserved, Jaime and I were not disappointed when we saw a beautiful collection of butterflies for sale. They were presented beautifully in glass surrounded by wood frames that come from a wood co-operative in Honduras. We each looked for the butterflies that we would take home to our family. As we waited for our treasures to be wrapped in protective paper, Jaime said to me in his wonderful accent, “Brian, des is proof dat God ees an arteest.” Yes, Jaime, you’re right. God is an artist. The greatest artist of all time.
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars,which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” Psalm 8:3-4