Why our Symbol is a Dragonfly

Dorothy Tharpe

The symbol of the dragonfly was thrust upon us almost accidentally! Our carving was made by William Paterek Jr, a natural scientist. His parents, Josie and Bill Paterek, were charter members of our Society. They left it to us when they moved from River Falls.

Entitled Metamorphosis, it represents the growth of a dragonfly from an egg and then a grub, crawling in the mud, to a beautiful, soaring insect. The carving was put in place when we moved into our building and serves as a symbol of the upward aspirations of a human life.

When we needed a banner to display at a district meeting, several members favored the idea of a dragonfly and Jude Rooney designed and made our green satin banner with it's golden winged dragonfly. On display in our meeting room and at district meetings, it has been much admired!

The dragonfly is, in reality, a fascinating creature and definitely helpful to the human race. It's appetite for flies and mosquitoes is huge and without its help, it is said, some South Pacific Islands could not be inhabited by people. It has 6 legs which are covered with tiny spines. With them it can cling to a branch but it cannot walk. It makes a basket of its legs to scope up insects, catching and eating them as it flies. Birds are seldom able to catch dragonflys which can fly 50 to 60 miles an hour.

The female deposits her eggs in a pond, sometimes dropping them from the air. The nymphs hatch out and are thick. grub-like creatures which feed on pond life and breathe with gills. They may live in this form from 1 to 5 years, shedding and emerging from their skin as often as 12 times. Finally they crawl out of the water, and, shedding one more time, emerge as mature dragonflys.