Yale Honors Black Fourth-Grader Reported to Police As She Sprayed Lantern Flies

Her personal lantern fly collection is now in the school's Peabody Museum of Natural History

Andrew Hurley / Yale University

The Yale School of Public Health honored 9-year-old Bobbi Wilson for her efforts to curb the invasive spotted lantern fly after a neighbor reported to her police as she sprayed flies in her hometown of Caldwell, New Jersey.

Bobbi was presented with the title of “donor scientist” when Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History accepted the donation of her personal lantern fly collection.  The collection is now available for public viewing in the museum's database, according to the university.

Bobbi had learned that lantern flies were an invasive species so she concocted a TikTok-inspired insect repellent composed of dish water, soap and apple cider vinegar. She was spraying near her home when a police officer began to question her. 

A neighbor, former town council member Gordon Lawshe, had called the police to report a suspicious person. "There’s a little Black woman walking, spraying stuff on the sidewalks and trees on Elizabeth and Florence. I don’t know what the hell she’s doing. Scares me, though," Lawshe said to dispatchers, according to footage obtained by CNN.

Read more at NBCNews.com.

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