Butterfly-a-thon Achievements

Thank you to everyone who pledged or donated to Bob’s Butterfly-a-thon!

As Bob traversed the U.S. in search of butterflies, many of you generously contributed to the Butterfly-a-thon fundraiser. Thanks to your pledges of 5 cents, 10 cents, or even a dollar for every butterfly that Bob saw the Xerces Society raised over $40,000!

This money has been used for conservation of threatened and endangered butterfly species. We want to share with you some of the projects that have been completed thanks to the Butterfly-a-thon pledges.

Enhancing and Restoring Butterfly Habitat
We’ve worked across the country to assist landowners and land managers in enhancing and restoring habitat for native butterflies. For example, we recently developed land management plans for the Bureau of Land Management (and are underway in the development of plans for Forest Service sites) to conserve the imperiled mardon skipper. As a result, the BLM is reducing many of the threats this butterfly faces by removing cattle, blocking ATV access, and preventing conifer encroachment in important meadows.

In Wisconsin, we have been assisting landowners, the Farm Service Agency (FSA), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in restoring habitat for the Endangered Karner Blue butterfly. Working with Paula Klentjes-Neff, a Karner Blue researcher with the University of Wisconsin, we are developing a landowner management guide to assist individuals in restoring lupine hostplants and nectar plants for the Karner Blue.

Working to Protect Endangered Species
Since the beginning of 2009, we have conducted status assessments for numerous North American butterflies and moths. For those species that we determined to be most imperiled—Leona’s little blue butterfly, the bay skipper, and the sand verbena moth—we filed Endangered Species Act petitions seeking federal protection for them and their habitats. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is still considering our petitions.

Monarch Conservation
The Society has initiated two new projects to address the decline in monarchs in the western and southern United States. The first aims to evaluate the status of overwintering sites on the California coast and provide tools to citizens and land managers to protect those critical areas. The second addresses the loss of milkweed by working with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and native seed producers to develop locally native species of milkweed for southern U.S. states. In addition, we worked with Bob Pyle to develop a policy statement that details our concerns about the growing practice of releasing monarchs and other butterflies at weddings, funerals, and in the classroom.

Xerces has also recently collaborated with partners to form the Monarch Joint Venture. Our new projects support the work of this initiative.

International Conservation
Xerces executive director Scott Hoffman Black was recently appointed chair of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Butterfly Specialist Group. This group will work to understand and protect imperiled butterflies worldwide.

These are just a few of the important butterfly projects that we have underway. We will continue to advocate for the protection of many other rare, threatened, and often overlooked species of butterflies and their habitats. For more information on our butterfly conservation program please visit our butterfly conservation web page.