Hanging on to Karner Blues

  • Karner Blue butterflies depend on wild lupine for survival. Lupine is the only plant Karner Blue caterpillars will eat. Photo by Ann B. Swengel, courtesy of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Once, a postage-stamp-sized butterfly known as the Karner Blue was found all across the Great Lakes states, from Minnesota to New York. Today its population has declined by 99 percent. The Karner Blue’s last stronghold is in Wisconsin, where an unprecedented state-wide effort is underway to save it. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Mary Losure reports:

The Prairie Pioneer

For almost forty years, Dr. Robert Betz searched the railroad tracks and
back roads of the Midwest for remnants of the nearly extinct tall-grass
prairie. Along the way, he helped define and popularize a new
environmental movement on the rise throughout the Great Lakes and the
country—a movement called ecological restoration. The Great Lakes Radio
Consortium’s Alex Blumberg has this report:

Restoration Practices Generating Controversy

Years ago, forest preserves were established in many American cities toprotect valuable natural areas from urban development. But over theyears, the health of those preserves has declined. Conservationists arenow trying to repair the damage by actively restoring those naturalareas. But now, some of their techniques are being questioned. TheGreat Lakes Radio Consortium’s Steve Frenkel reports: