Meet the Butterfly Guide…Tom Allen
Visit Tom's Web site here.
From the moment Tom learned to walk, he was out chasing butterflies. He says his passion for the outdoors was something he was born with.
When he was young, Tom collected and studied butterflies in Massachusetts, where he was born. After obtaining undergraduate and master's degrees from the University of Maine in entomology and wildlife, Tom accepted a position as a research biologist for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources until his recent retirement. He studied big game animals, especially black bears, and also butterflies. He's written two books—one about butterflies and caterpillars in West Virginia; another about caterpillars across North America.
Now living in Florida, Tom continues researching and studying nature with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Tom also teaches an environmental course at Edison College in Fort Myers. He joined the staff of Birds & Blooms EXTRA as a contributing editor for its launch in March 2005.
In his free time, Tom enjoys working in his backyard butterfly garden. "There's always a lot of work to be done in my yard," Tom says.
An active participant in the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program, Tom's yard serves as a model backyard butterfly habitat.
Tom says the trick to attracting butterflies is to think in terms of their life cycle.
"You have to provide nectar for the butterflies and a host for the caterpillar," Tom says. "That's the key to continuous populations of butterflies."