People love nature, they just don’t know we have it.

So at last year’s Festival of Biodiversity, I was directed to this 7-year old Yi Han who happened to be this crazy love for arachnids. A while into my conversation with him he pulled out his book on arachnids and was dropping cheem words like amblypygi, pedipalps and chelicera – that conversation went on for more than ten minutes till we had to reluctantly part. Before he left with his family, I told his mom how to reach me on FB and she messaged me later thanking me and the rest of the festival for making her boy’s day. 

yihan

This year, I contacted his mom, and invited them down for the Festival of Biodiversity 2014. After some ambiguity, they did eventually attend FoB – except Yi Han was not as a visitor this time but a guide, sitting with me behind the specimens to share his love and knowledge of arachnids with other kids and visitors. He even brought specimens that he amassed through his loyal subscription to the BUGS magazine series, including a centipede and a whip scorpion which were both missing from our collection. While we were engaging members of the public, our mothers somehow managed to end up talking to each other and agreed on how they had both given up on trying to get their sons to pursue a more ‘normal’ passion.

Conclusion is – every festival, we reach out to thousands of people. Most will just glance over and leave unchanged, some may take home a few key messages. But sometimes (with a very low chance), I meet someone special like Tan Yi Han who goes home with a passion ignited and returns for more. And while every interaction is meaningful and worthwhile, this kid makes me feel SUPER DUPER grateful I chose to come share 

Remember his name – he’s bound for Arachnology superstardom.

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