It’s National Pollinator Week!!

 Karner BlueBy Taylor Renton
This week is National Pollinator Week, time to celebrate the bees and butterflies that make our flowers beautiful. Here in Michigan we happen to be home to the endangered Karner blue butterfly. This butterfly relies on wild lupine for its survival since the caterpillars have only been found to eat the leaves of this plant. Karner blue butterflies are endangered because the plant they rely on grows in a habitat type that’s diminishing, oak savanna.
Oak savanna is a habitat type that is quickly disappearing in Michigan. Wildfires were necessary to keep savanna habitat from being crowded out by shrubs and trees, but they have been occurring less and less lately. Prescribed burns are becoming necessary to keep the grassland and maintain the butterfly habitat. Karner blue butterflies are weak flyers so it is also important that habitat patches not be spread far apart since they rarely fly more that a mile.
Turkeys and deer are among many other species that thrive in the oak savanna habitat type. In Michigan the Huron-Manistee National Forest has been working hard to preserve savannas and has recently partnered with the National Wild Turkey Federation to continue the habitat improvements. If you’re interested in volunteering to help restore habitats or improve public access keep an eye out for upcoming On the Ground (OTG) events and sign up on the MUCC website >here

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