Tuesday morning started out pretty early but it didn’t matter because I was so excited. Jhonny, Gabie and I were going to drive up north to the field ranger station in Hebo to help out with a Silverspot butterfly survey. Mount Hebo a 3,176 summit in the Oregon Coast Range is one of the few coastal prairies that contains habitat for a federally threatened butterflies called the Oregon Silverspot butterfly, Speyeria zerene hippolyta. We were aiding Doug Glavich and Michelle Dragoo, an ecologist and a wildlife biologist that are working to restore the habitats where the early blue violet, Viola adunca, can be found. These flowers are very important to the lifecycle of the Oregon Silverspot because they are the only plant that the larvae can eat. And because of loss of habitat due to habitat degradation and invasive species the Oregon Silverspot butterfly has been in decline.
During this survey, we walked around the meadow looking for these little blue flowers so that they could be mapped in a GIS system. In 1999, Oregon zoo and Woodland Park are working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to help the population decline by captive rearing Silverpot larvae. In September, the flower’s abundance will come in handy because a group called the Conservation Canines will bring a specially trained dog up to Mt. Hebo to find the Silverspot females that have been impregnated and bring them to the Oregon zoo where they will lay their eggs. The eggs are taken care of until they pupate and get ready to be released back to the wild.
On Friday, we went into the field with Laresa Kerstetter the wildlife biologist working in restoring the habitats in the Central Coast district (where I work). Gabie, Jhonny and I will be going to the Oregon zoo to educate people about the Oregon Silverspot butterfly so it was great to meet scientists working in their conservation and experience it firsthand.
Friday was also the day, Vicki Penwell and I gave a little talk about the marbled murrelet to about 200 students from Angell Job Corps, a career technical training program for young people that range from the ages 16 to 24. Job Corps offers several vocational training in trades like automotive, carpentry, bricklaying, painting, and urban forestry. So because the Job Corps is in an area that is good habitat for the marbled murrelet we went to talk to the student body about these mysterious seabirds. This was the most people I’ve ever presented to, but knowing that Vicki was there inspired me and I did not feel so nervous. They were also a good crowd, it was really fun!