In the basement of an unassuming house in an unassuming neighborhood in Pittsfield are located thousands of insects on display and dozens of wildlife taxidermies and moose and deer busts. Over the course of his life, Renee Wendel has collected them as a hobby. "Everybody needs a hobby in life. Everyone should be happy as kings" he says of his hobby. Tom Tying thinks he probably has a few never before identified species of insects among his collection, but because he is unschooled (dropped out of school somewhere around the 4th grade) Tom thinks he does not quite have a full appreciation of the significance of his collection. He does it purely for fun.
Now 90 years old, Renee is still adding to his collection on a regular basis. He says to Tom "here, you can have this specimen, I already have it and have no more space anyway." He has about 50 drawers filled with butterflies, moths, beetles and other insects. Most of his collection is local from the Berkshires, but some things are exotic such as the legendary Morpho (blue butterfly) and some cool looking critters from New Guinea among other fascinating exotics.
I will upload pictures when I have time. Been busy of late. I also am behind on a few other blog updates, including Halloween, small mammal trapping and owl tagging. Maybe during Thanksgiving break I'll be able to get to some of these.