Yale’s School of Public Health Honors Nine-Year-Old Lanternfly Catcher Who Was Reported to Police

From catching insects to catching the attention of professionals in science, this girl is on fire.

Bobbi Wilson, the 9-year-old who was reported to the police by her Republican neighbor while she was catching lanternflies, has been honored by The Yale School of Public Health.

According to Yale University officials, the institution held a ceremony January 20 highlighting Wilson’s research and efforts toward capturing the invasive species that was infesting Caldwell, New Jersey. The ceremony was also a moment for the university to show its gratitude to Wilson for donating her personal collection of the insects as an addition to the database at Yale’s Peabody Museum.

She is officially one of the museum’s donating scientists.

The Guardian reported that the child’s incident with her neighbor drew the attention of Ijeoma Opara, an assistant professor at the public health school, who organized the ceremony to honor Wilson for her brave and inspirational work.

“Yale doesn’t normally do anything like this,” Opara said, according to the university. “This is something unique to Bobbi.”

“We’re so grateful for all of the work you’ve done…in New Jersey, and your interest in conservation and checking out the lanternflies’ advance,” said Lawrence Gall, the museum’s entomology collection manager. “They are just starting to come up here…So we’re very happy to have these specimens.”

As previously reported by BLACK ENTERPRISE,  Wilson’s 71-year-old neighbor, Gordon Lawshe, called the police on the child on October 22 while she was outside testing an environmentally-safe formula to catch the insects in her hometown. Wilson, her mother, and her older sister attended a town hall meeting in November to address the council and bring attention to the incident.

Since the town hall meeting, Wilson and her older sister have toured Yale University in an invitation to meet other Black women in science.

Wilson’s lanternfly collection is available for public view at Yale’s Peabody Museum.