Save the Pine Bush Newsletter – July/Aug. 92

by Gregg Bell, July/Aug. 92

A significant conference on the Karner Blue Butterfly was held on April 21, 1992 in Zanesville, Ohio, once again illustrating continuing scientific interest in our famous neighbor. The conference was sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Wilds International Center for the Preservation of Animals, The Nature Conservancy, and the University of Minnesota. In all, a total of twenty scientific papers were presented. Several discussed the declining status of the Karner Blue in various locations, including New York, New Hampshire, Indiana, Ontario, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Others dealt with the effects of prescribed fire on grassland butterflies, lupine ecology, preserve design, benefits to Karner Blue larvae from association with ants, and recovery planning.

Speakers at the symposium came from ten states and Ontario. However, the largest number have studied or have done management work in the Albany Pine Bush at some point in their scientific careers. These included John Cryan and Laura Sommers of the NYS DEC; Robert Dirig of Cornell; Dolores Savignano of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Peter Spoor of Albany College of Pharmacy; and Dale Schweitzer, Robert Zaremba, Michael Pickering, Kate Hubbs, and Stephanie Gebauer, all of The Nature Conservancy.

This conference showed heartening progress in the struggle to save the Pine Bush. While it is critical that enough Pine Bush land be saved from slick developers and short-sighted politicians, actual management and restoration of the preserved land can occur only with adequate scientific understanding.

While not yet available, written proceedings from the symposium will be published through the University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station. To obtain a copy, contact: Richard J. Baker; Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Box 7, 500 Lafayette Road; St. Paul, MN 55155-4007. His phone is (612) 297-3764 and his fax is (612) 297-4961.

The Karner Blue Goes to Cornell

by Gregg Bell, Oct./Nov. 90

The Cornell University Plantations Lecture Series presented a lecture entitled “Karner’s Famous Blue Butterfly” on September 27. It was held in Ithaca and presented by Robert Dirig, the assistant curator of the Bailey Hortorium at Cornell and a long time friend of the Albany Pine Bush. He spoke on the history of the study of the Karner Blue including its original name Scudder’s Blue, to the current studies on the relationship between ants and the butterfly. He spoke about Al Frederick who collected Karner Blues in the 1950’s and 1960’s and the efforts of the former Pine Bush Historic Preservation Project. Included also was a discussion of the Karner Blue site at the Saratoga Airport and the need for managing the Albany Pine Bush with fire.

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