It’s Poetry Friday and Janice Scully is our host. Please visit her blog for more poetry links and a place to leave your own word creations if you so desire. Thanks for hosting, Janice!
At 10 am Central Time (Chicago) on a Friday morning in Wisconsin, I am again probably one of the last to post for Poetry Friday. By now I believe I will never get the hang of posting for Poetry Friday on Thursday (which is Friday for our poetry friends in other parts of the world). So be it.
As my son says, you do you, mom.
It is a drab day here in Wisconsin. The high is only supposed to be 51 degrees. But, the leaves have come out and we are surrounded by green in our forest home. Our summer project is to build a 2-story, 3-car garage here at the cabin. This entails some of the trees being cut down at the building site. There are many times more trees left than we cut, so there is not a problem. In truth, the forest needed some thinning. There was a lot of debris and dead wood from years of inattentiveness.
Drab days are good for writing. I wrote yesterday on my Medium.com page about how I plan to change up my writing – blogging less (I do it every day), and working on other writing projects that I seem to put off time and time again. You can read that post, here, if you desire. It is kind of ironic because here I am writing another blog – today was meant for other work! Hopefully, I’ll get the hang of a new writing regime soon.
Today is also Endangered Species Day.
As an environmental educator, I know these things. The decreasing biodiversity of our world is a concern to me. I wish more people would learn how to take action to help species in trouble. Most of you know that my focus has long been monarch conservation. I’ve worked to create monarch habitats and educate local communities on this iconic species for over 20 years. Monarch butterflies were listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (source).
This is not the same as being listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the United States. The designation of the monarch as endangered has not been assigned under the endangered species act. The USFWS (US Fish and Wildlife Service) finds that the monarch’s listing is “warranted but precluded” at this time. The article found here https://www.fws.gov/initiative/pollinators/monarchs explains more.
But all is not lost. People like me, who continue to work despite a designation or the lack of one, are the hope for preserving the migration of the monarch butterfly. Just this month, I entered GPS coordinates for monitoring monarch habitat for the IMMP by Monarch Joint Venture. I will continue to do what I can for monarchs. In fact, I believe I saw a monarch yesterday! It is so early but still, I will report the sighting to Journey North. It gives me hope for a better season than last year.
Historically, there’ve been success stories in the conservation of endangered species. The Bald Eagle is such a story. I relish the power of protection and civic action every time I see an eagle perched in a tree or flying overhead. It is a wonderful sight each time I see a bald eagle.
The Karner Blue Butterfly is another success story.
Depending on where you live, you might not know of this small blue butterfly. Its habitat consists of sandy barrens. These can be found in Wisconsin, Ohio, New York, New Hampshire, Indiana, and Michigan.
Like the monarch, the Karner blue has only one host plant that supports the larval stage of the butterfly’s life cycle. It is the Wild Blue Lupine.
Unlike the monarch, the Karner Blue was listed on the US Endangered Species list in 1992 due to the rapid decline of their specialized habitat (source). At the time of the listing, the population had decreased by 99%.
For more information on this butterfly and the conservation efforts that were put in place, check here:
The Karner Blue Butterfly has rebounded due to the conservation efforts of many people over the states that had their native habitat (source). Wisconsin reports over an 800% increase since the conservation plan of 1999 was enacted in that state (source). We moved to Wisconsin in 1999, and live outside of the sand-barren area with the exception of the Holland Sand Prairie – a remnant of sand prairie in La Crosse County. I’ve never seen a Karner Blue, but I have planted Wild Blue Lupine and taught school-aged children about the Karner Blue, which is a conservation success story by any measure.
To close, I’ve written several poems on the Karner Blue. Here is one from my poetry chapbook.
Oh, Karner Blue!
Where are you?
Knowing you might be near,
I filled my gardens with the wild blue lupine you hold so dear.
A tiny specimen of Lepidoptera,
Elusive to even those who would like to see you flitting and fluttering
In purple blooms along with the bee.
Another butterfly dependent on one plant’s disappearing habitat
Unless you know where it’s at.
Sand prairie remnants are calling you home.
Oh, Karner Blue, don’t be alone!
© Carol Labuzzetta, 2020
This is a tale of hope. If you care about our earth, do something to help the species that are endangered. Human efforts to stem extinction have succeeded before. The Bald Eagle and Karner Blue Butterfly are examples of this success. It gives me hope for the monarch, too.
Best wishes on your building project, Carol, & I do know about the Monarch & thought we had the Karner blue here in Colorado because we have many lupines, but upon research, I guess not. “Oh, Karner Blue, don’t be alone”. Thanks for the info & telling what you’re doing, too!
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Thanks, Linda. Yes, there are a lot of “blue” butterflies but this one is indigenous to the areas I discussed in my post. I might have missed Maine – but for the most part their range is in the northern sand barrens of the great lake states. You are right though, there are many states that have lupines. I’m not sure about the difference in the species of those. Thanks for your comments.
Thank you, Carol, for being such an advocate for the endangered among us – those declared and those needing declaration. I will never tire of the monarch’s majesty.
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I feel your hopefulness. My butterfly garden is wildly growing, but no sign of any caterpillars yet. I am hopeful but waiting and praying. I love our connection to butterflies and gardening.
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Carol, you don’t have to worry about being late to Poetry Friday. I have been at the end many times also for PF and Two Writing Teachers on Tuesday. Your dedication as an environmentalist is inspirational. Keep working with children on this. We need to teach our young to honor the earth. Your side gallery is beautiful.
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Lovely and encouraging, Carol, and full of love for the earth.