Wed, Jan 15, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Man’s love for all insects leads to nature classroom

By Wang Yang-yu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Insect enthusiast Lin Cheng-yi, left, and his wife stand at the entrance of their nature classroom in Erjie Village in Yilan County’s Jiaosi Township on Monday last week.

Photo: Wang Yang-yu, Taipei Times

With an eye on the nation’s waning passion for insects, 38 year-old Lin Cheng-yi (林正誼) took a gamble and sold his house in Yilan City to start a nature classroom in Erjie Village (二結) in Yilan County’s Jiaosi Township (礁溪), in an attempt to revive interest in insects of all types.

Lin said he started breeding and selling insects in 2004, when a craze for the diminutive stars swept the nation.

Apart from taking orders from companies in the same trade, Lin said that he also used to sell his insects from a stall on the street.

“It was hard going at first,” he said, adding that breeding insects was not as fun and easy as it seemed in his childhood, and he did not realize the difficulties he would run into while mass-breeding the creatures.

“I had a hard time getting them to maturity,” Lin said, adding that mice had also gobbled down several of his prized insects — each valued at about NT$2,000.

Lin said he knew he had to find other ways to support himself when the craze started blowing over. After discussions with his family, he decided to sell his house to pursue his dream of introducing the beauty of life to the rest of society.

“It was a big gamble, but it had to be made,” Lin said, adding that he had not had an income for more than four years since he started pursuing his dream.

The building that became the nature classroom was finished in March last year after four years of construction, Lin said.

He added that the classroom has become the home of thousands of preserved insects, as well as numerous live specimens, and also features more than 30 kinds of fish that are only found in the Yilan River (宜蘭河) and its tributaries.

Erjie Village has an ecologically rich environment because of its low building density and the advantages brought by the natural landscape, which includes plains, hills and several rivers. More than 107 butterfly species have been discovered in the area in the past year, Lin said.

Lin hopes to work with the community to transform the village into a preservation site for butterflies, as well as a place where visitors can relax and enjoy the beautiful natural scenery.

He said he had worked for more than a decade to realize his dream and he is finally at the stage where he can pursue his hobby, as well as use and broaden his professional knowledge.

“Cooperating with local residents, we hope to prove a beneficial influence on local tourism and industry,” he said.

Lin added that he is going to keep following his chosen path and work hard to create a better environment for the conservation of more insects.

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