The Butterfly Conservation Initiative

KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OHFebruary 14, 2012

I saw a post about this outfit on Facebook. It was a link to the group's webpage about the El Segundo Blue Butterfly. So after looking at that, I poked around their website. Ended up finding out about a butterfly habitat that was created a couple hours from my house. It is 10 acres of restored prairie that opened in 2005. Now I have something else to do this summer.

The website does not seem to be very up-to-date. I was starting to wonder if the outfit had gone under. Then I found 2012 grant proposals so they are still kicking.

Anyway, I'm posting it so maybe someone else will discover a butterfly recovery project that is near them.


Here is a link that might be useful: The Butterfly Conservation Initiative

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Specifically, the "Species Profiles" link at that website will take you to local projects.

Here in Oregon, the Fender's Blue and Oregon Silverspot are featured in the newspaper on an annual basis.

I believe a dog was trained to sniff out Kinkaid's Lupine plants (Fender' Blue hostplant) in the open prairie, saving the human researchers much time.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 12:03AM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

The local project I found was via the "Read about recovery" link. The project was not aimed at a specific species, but restoring butterfly habitat.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 1:13AM
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Sounds like a good place to visit KC. Take your camera. There may be plants you will want to id so you can add them to your garden.
I didn't find anything for Missouri on that website but we do have prairies I could visit within a couple hours. I've just never gotten around to going.

Wow! How smart is that to teach a dog to sniff out Lupine.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 11:41AM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH


Your job is to make sure the ozark swallowtails (Papilio joanae) population stays large enough that BCI does not need to get involved. I'll call it CCI (Christie Conservation Initiative). You have been chosen. ;)

I recently bought a book titled "Wild Ohio: The Best of Our Natural Heritage." You know it is a good book since it has a luna moth on the cover. ;) Anyway, it talks about how Ohio was much hotter and drier 4-8 thousand years ago. Because of this, prairies of the Great Plains expanded into Ohio. By the time the European settlements moved into Ohio, prairies covered "an estimated fifteen hundred square miles." Book says less than 1% of that is left today. Development took most of it but man preventing prairie fires allows trees to take over prairies too. If you want a prairie, you need to cut it down and/or set controlled fires. Real prairie plants have deep roots that are unaffected by fire.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 3:06PM
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KC - I hope people don't start emailing me for information about the CCI now. lol I wouldn't know much about Ozark Swallowtails. I haven't been able to determine whether I have them here. They look too much like Black Swallowtails. says "black pupil in eyespot trailing edge of hindwing is not centered and touches inner edge of windwing". I do see one occasionally that has the black dot over to the side like that but maybe Black Swallowtails do too sometimes. If I AM seeing Ozark Swallowtails then they are using my Bronze Fennel for a host plant which is not listed as a host.
I winter sowed some Yellow pimpernel (taenidia integerrima) seeds which IS listed as a host plant. But I bet Black Swallowtails will use it too. Wish there was an easier way to tell them apart.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 9:02AM
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ralleia(z5 Omaha, NE)

Can I get an assignment, too, KC? :)

I grow milkweeds of various species for the monarchs, and fennel and parsley for the black swallowtails, (plus nectar sources for all) but I would love a specific assignment!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 10:38AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Good work!
I'm going to order some more members of the laurel family to try to see if they'll thrive here, and, hopefully, palamedes swallowtails will lay eggs on one of them. I also plan to try and take some cuttings from my best, healthiest Persia tree - I don't know if it's P. palustris or P. borbonia, but it has the fewest galls of any on this property.
Laurel wilt could possibly decimate the host plants for palamedes swallowtails, possibly even spicebush swallowtails. If there is a laurel that the vectoring insect - ambrosia wasp, I think, a non-native, of course - doesn't like, but the swallowtails do like, we need it!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 5:25PM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

Was doing a search and this topic popped up. Figured I'd update it.

I did make it to the restored prairie last year. It is part of a place called The Wilds. It is a huge area run by the Columbus Zoo where non-native animals get to roam.

My family saw the animals first. Then I had to force them to go the prairie. They were tired and did not really want to go. I could have spent hours there but the timestamps on my pics show we were wandering through it for an hour.

Wish I would have posted last year while it was fresh in my mind. I can remember trying to chase down butterflies for pics but I don't remember what the quarry was. Found a huge grasshopper my kids liked. Lots of flowers I did not recognize but I never took the time to ID the photos.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 1:40AM
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Hi KC;
I guess I missed this thread when it first came up. Stephanie Sanchez is the program coordinator for the BFCI. She is Jaret Daniels' wife. I met her years ago when Jaret came through here. She is very nice. As you pointed out, they work with AZA accredited zoos (something dear to my heart as you know) to help endangered butterflies. So, they support the Toledo Zoo's Karner Blue effort. The Wilds is run by the Cincinnati Zoo. I haven't made it there yet. I have always wanted to go. I really would love to do an overnight there but it costs almost as much as doing the real thing in Africa! Did you see much of their butterfly habitat there?


    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 4:58AM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

It is 10 acres, it is built on an upward slope, I was there for an hour, and I had 3 tired people who did not want to walk upward. I did not see at least half of the 10 acres.

Cincy Zoo may have ties but this is a Columbus Zoo operation. The Wilds was its own entity until they started running short of cash maybe 10 years ago. They hooked up with the Columbus Zoo to get back to good financial footing and have been getting cozier ever since, especially when state funding dried up in 2009. Their legal name is The International Center for the Preservation of Wild Animals and the official company address is on the Columbus Zoo property in Powell. If you look at their website, you'll see "é Columbus Zoo and Aquarium 2012 -- All Rights Reserved" at the bottom of every page.

Here is a link that might be useful: New zoo chief ready to go into Wilds

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 10:36AM
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