Being in love with insects his whole life, Aaron Olsen started his first insect collection at the age of five and has collected every year since. Inspired by his grandmother Diana Olsen and their family’s 4H insect collecting group in Cache County Utah; Aaron followed in his Dad’s footsteps collecting as a hobby. Ever since, the majority of his free time has been spent collecting and studying insects.
His passion has since infected his wife and family of five. Family vacations are often planned around what insects can be caught in that location and time of year. Aaron’s longest collecting trip was a 6,624 mile drive (round trip) with his Father, Grandmother and Aunt along with several children from Salt Lake City to Belize done in a Nissan Sentra and a Honda Civic! Even today, it is not uncommon for Aaron to drive 10+ hours specifically hunting one species of insect.
Aaron met his best friend and fellow insect collector, Kenn Anderson while attending a scientific field trip with the Utah Lepidoptera Society. There is a funny story the two share about discovering they both shared the same birthday while collecting in the remote desert of Southeast Arizona years after they met. Late in the morning while waiting for moths to come to the sheet Aaron exclaimed “there couldn’t be anything better than night collecting on your birthday”, it was then when Kenn asked, “How did you know it was my birthday?”…the two shared a long laugh over how insect collecting is far more important than a silly detail like a friend’s birthday. Together, Aaron and Kenn have been to very remote places to collect insects. In 2017 they completed a 10 day collecting trip in Guatemala and the border of Honduras collecting in the jungle cloud forests and on a top a volcano.
Worried that following his hobby as a career might ruin his passion for collecting, Aaron took up business management and public finance administration in graduate school. He has had a very successful career in finance serving as Treasurer of the City of St George and currently works as the COO of Sullivan Homes.
Aaron’s insects have fascinated crowds of people at schools, at the Utah State Fair, birthday parties, and in exhibit halls. His honest desire is to share the beauty of insects with the world. He is actively working towards his life long goal of opening a live butterfly greenhouse and gardens just outside of Zion National Park. His desire is to increase awareness of insects and the important role they play in our fragile environment with the World. You can follow him and his adventures @theinsectcollector on Instagram or Facebook.