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Kelly Richers


Kelly was born Kelly Patrick Moran in Washington DC, May 28, 1952. His parents got divorced when he was young, his mother remarried and his stepfather took the family to Germany to live for four years. Otto Richers, Kelly's stepfather, was an electronics engineer working for NATO, and Kelly was, in essence, an Embassy brat. There Kelly got to travel to virtually all European and Mediterranean countries. During that time Kelly took the adopted last name of Richers.

When Kelly was 12 he returned to the United States and moved to State College, Pennsylvania, where he attended high school. Upon graduation he attended Penn State University, where he was a wrestler for four years, graduating with a B.S. in Health and Physical Education in 1974. After teaching for two years at a state prison, Kelly was perfectly prepared to teach junior high school, which he did for another couple of years in State College.

Upon meeting his wife-to-be on a trip to California, Kelly moved Long Beach, and subsequently San Jose and Anaheim, working in the business world, before moving to Bakersfield in 1979, where he married in 1982. After working in the office supply business for six years in Bakersfield, Kelly returned to teaching in 1986, having earned a credential to teach K-12 Earth Science, General Science and Life Science. While teaching eighth grade science Kelly earned his Education Administration credential and Masters Degree and became a vice principal of a middle school in Wasco in 1992.

Since then he has been a vice principal for nine years at a middle school, one year at an elementary school, and has been principal at an elementary school for four years and principal at the middle school for one year. In that time he has been awarded the title of Administrator of the Year four times from his professional organization, The Association of School Administrators (ACSA), for the region of Kern, Tulare, Kings, Inyo and Mono counties, and in 2009 he was selected as California Middle Grades Principal of the Year. Since then he has become Director of Categorical Programs for the Wasco Elementary School District.

In the field of Lepidoptera, Kelly began collecting in junior high school as a result of a classroom assignment. As with most of his peers, those early collected specimens were lost to dermestids and moving many years ago. However, upon moving to California he discovered that the traditional activities of hunting and fishing he had enjoyed in the Pennsylvania mountains were much more difficult, and he turned in 1984 to Lepidoptera again.

Kelly joined the Lepidopterists' Society in 1984 and attended the Pacific Slope meeting in 1985 in the San Bernardino Mountains. Kelly met Ron Leuschner and Julian Donahue, who allowed him access to the collection at the LACM, which became a regular location for Kelly to visit.

Further meetings, notably in Meadow Valley, CA, and Turkey Creek, AZ, led to Kelly meeting Jerry Powell and visiting Berkeley, and eventually hosting meetings at the Camp KEEP facilities in Tulare County in 1995 and 2002. Hosting these regional meetings grew into a desire to attend the annual international meeting, and Kelly has attended meetings at the University of Maryland, Olds, Canada, Winston-Salem, Gainesville, Corvallis, and two meetings at Sierra Vista Arizona. Attending the winter meetings of the Pacific Slope at both Davis and UC Berkeley for several years has helped fill in the winters.

Some fifteen years ago Kelly conceived the idea of making a master list of moths by county for California, having no resources for identification in Bakersfield. The list was to be similar to the list Bob Langston had for butterflies, and with the help of Jerry Powell, who thought the idea insane at the time, Kelly arrived at a format that allowed the information to be catalogued on a computer database. Jerry Powell and Ron Leuschner proved primary contributors to this effort, which now stands at some 37,000 entries and is posted on the website at the Essig Museum at UC Berkeley.

Since that time, virtually every collector of California moths has contributed to the list, and with this wide circle of people whom Kelly now felt he knew, he felt compelled to try one more new thing. Therefore, he decided to host an annual Lepidopterists' Society meeting, which was held in Bakersfield in 2007 and was considered successful.

In the meantime Kelly decided it would be fun to visit some classic collecting locations in the west, which led to the dozen or so articles in the News titled with that name. Expansion of the California list now includes Nevada and Arizona, so a lifetime of new visits to museums and locations is ahead, as well as learning to dissect.

Kelly currently resides in Bakersfield, California, with his wife and 24 year old daughter, who is a graduate of California State University, Bakersfield. He collects stamps and sugar packets as well as Lepidoptera.

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