Contact(s): Chelsea Gunther, DNR Karner Blue Butterfly Recovery Coordinator, 608-397-0631; Chelsea.Gunther@wisconsin.gov
MADISON - Wisconsin has more Karner blue butterflies than any other place in the world and volunteers can attend training this June to help collect information about this federally endangered butterfly and its habitat to help advance recovery efforts, state endangered species officials say.
"Our goal is to train volunteers to be able to identify Karner Blue butterflies so they can help us collect information from the state as a whole," says Chelsea Gunther, DNR Karner blue butterfly recovery coordinator. "We've only been able to survey the largest known occupied sites over the years, so expanding our capacity to collect information on areas where we're not sure if Karners are still present will improve our data and give us a better statewide picture."
There are two training sessions available and people interested in attending are required to register by June 14.
The sign up link is listed under the "volunteer" tab on the Karner blue butterfly page of the DNR website. The first of two flights of Karner blue butterflies is underway now so volunteers will have instruction in the field as well as in the classroom. Sessions are set for:
The nickel-sized Karner blue butterfly was listed in 1992 as a federally endangered species.
Karner caterpillars eat only wild lupine, a plant found mostly in oak and pine barrens communities, and such habitats have been lost in Wisconsin and elsewhere.
The volunteer training, which is part of DNR's monitoring program for Karners, which has been revamped this year, is one of four main efforts underway to protect and restore Karners and their habitat. The progress of these efforts has helped turn Wisconsin's Karner blue butterfly population into the world's largest and a stronghold of efforts to restore the species to its former range, according to Owen Boyle, species management section chief for DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation program.
The other ongoing Wisconsin efforts are: