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May 8, 2012

MADISON - People interested in helping protect the "Karner blue butterfly - a federally listed endangered species found in Wisconsin - can attend one of two upcoming training sessions.

The Karner blue is also found in six other states, including New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota, all of which are helping to recover the species, but Wisconsin supports the greatest number of butterflies.

Conservation biologists with the Department of Natural Resources are looking for assistance with Karner blue butterfly population surveys and vegetation surveys of habitat for the 2012 field season from June through August. Volunteers will be trained to conduct butterfly surveys at recovery sites in central and western Wisconsin to assess the health of populations, and monitor habitat to determine suitability for the butterfly.

"Information obtained from these surveys will help determine how to improve the habitat that is critical for the recovery of this butterfly species," said Joan Voigt a conservation biologist with the Department of Natural Resources Karner blue butterfly recovery team.

The Karner Blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) is a small butterfly, having a wingspan of approximately 1 inch, about the size of a postage stamp. Rare oak savanna and jack pine barrens where wild lupine grows provide habitat for the Karner blue. Wild lupine is essential for the Karner blue's survival, as it is the only host plant the caterpillar will eat. Adults need other nectar plants that bloom later in the summer for food.

Populations have been identified in the White River, Greenwood, and Meadow Valley wildlife areas, Mecan River Fishery Area and Black River State Forest.

Volunteer Karner blue butrerfly training [PDF]) includes plant identification in the morning and field work in the afternoon. Volunteers should bring along a bag lunch, beverage and water bottle. Training will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the following dates:

People interested should register by May 17 by emailing or leaving a message at 920-622-3527, ext. 209.

For more information on efforts to protect the species, search for "Karner blue" on the Department of Natural Resources website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Joan Voigt - 920-622-3527, ext. 209 or Bob Manwell, DNR Office of Communications - 608-264-9248

Last Revised: Tuesday, May 08, 2012

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