I first heard of the Oak Openings when a lepidopterist told
me that the Karner Blue butterfly had once lived there, but
was now gone. A sad story before it even started!
But, now there is good news coming from Ohio. A project to
reintroduce the butterfly to the Oak Openings has begun.
This first reintroduction of the Karner blue butterfly to its
native habitat in the United States occurred in Ohio. This pioneering
effort began in May 1998. Female Karner blue butterflies were
collected from the wild, in cooperation with the Michigan Department
of Natural Resources, and taken to the Toledo Zoological Gardens
to raise larvae for reintroduction in Ohio. The Karner blue
butterfly larvae were released on a portion of restored habitat
on The Nature Conservancy’s Kitty Todd Preserve in the Oak Openings.
By 2003, if all goes as planned, Karner blue butterflies will
be released at several additional sites at the Kitty Todd Preserve
and other suitable locations.
The Oak Openings Region Preservation Alliance (OORPA) is a
group of volunteers who joined together in January of 2000 to
work towards the preservation of the Oak Openings. Like SPB,
they attend public hearings, and work to persuade politicians
that preservation of open space is essential. In the short time
they have been working together, OORPA volunteers have already
had success in stopping developments and placing land in preserve.
Visit their web site at www.oorpa.com to learn about the Oak
Openings, which is so similar to our Pine Bush, yet is so different.
Printed in the May/June 2001 Newsletter