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Sam Jaffe, founder of The Caterpillar Lab, shown here in 2017, was recently named the Cheshire County Conservation District’s 2021 Educator of the Year.

MARLBOROUGH — The founder of The Caterpillar Lab is being honored for his efforts to educate people across New England on the critters over the years.

The Cheshire County Conservation District — a Walpole-based organization that promotes the conservation and responsible use of agricultural resources — chooses an individual for its Educator of the Year award based on their personal or professional work on conservation ethics and awareness, according to a news release Tuesday from the district.

Samuel Jaffe is this year’s recipient for his work supporting native caterpillar education in New Hampshire and beyond. He received the honor on Oct. 26 during the district’s annual virtual meeting.

“For the past 13 years, Sam has transformed his love of caterpillars from exhibits throughout New England to founding The Caterpillar Lab in 2013,” the release says. “At its core, Sam’s work is focused on education and engaging the community while sharing his love of caterpillars.”

The Newton, Mass., native, along with his peers, started the lab in an apartment in downtown Keene, the release says. After a fundraising campaign, the group began presenting its work across New England.

The Caterpillar Lab moved to its own space in the Elm City in 2014 before later finding its current home in Marlborough as a registered nonprofit.

The lab’s work ranges from photography and art to natural history and modern dance, according to the release. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, about 40,000 people engaged with the lab’s various programs each year.

Olivia Belanger can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1439, or obelanger@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter @OBelangerKS.