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 ConservancyÕs 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 http://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