There is a lot of debate regarding historical names for species, both common and scientific. The names may be inaccurate examples of geography, such as the Tennessee Warbler, a boreal forest breeding bird that winters in the tropics, with only brief migratory stopovers in its namesake state.
These names may celebrate white explorers, while excluding the indigenous knowledge and communities that have lived with these animal plants. In other cases, these names may reflect racial slurs, such as the recently renamed gypsy moth. These moths, now known as "Spongy Moths", are a very destructive invasive species that can decimate forests, especially oaks.
Spongy moth is an excellent fit for the species - it accurately describes the sponge-like egg clusters that female moths lay on trees each Fall, prior to the Spring emergence of the species.
Where does this intersect with us as environmental educators? Change can be challenging, especially if we have internalized a name or developed a habit over a long period of time. However, we can all take the lead in sharing these changes, the reasons why, and move us toward a more inclusive (and accurate) approach to labeling the life around us.