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updated 3:46 PM UTC, Jul 22, 2019

Butterfly Field Days planned at Fort McCoy

  • Written by Mary Gerdes
  • Published in News

A pair of Butterfly Field Days are planned at Fort McCoy
in late July to provide people with an understanding of the unique habitat
on post that allows for rare species to flourish.

The first field day will be 1-4 p.m. July 26 at Sparta-Fort McCoy Airport
and is for installation community members only. The second field day, which
is open to the general public and the Fort McCoy community, is July 27, with
the first session from 9 a.m. to noon and the second session from 1 to 4
p.m.

Up to 35 people can attend each session. People interested in participating
in the field-day sessions must reserve a spot by calling the Permit Sales
Office at 608-388-3337 during regular business hours.

"This is an opportunity for people to learn much more about the rare
butterfly management that is occurring on the installation," said Tim
Wilder, longtime post wildlife and endangered species biologist and chief of
the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources
Branch.

"This includes a presentation followed by a bus tour that will include the
opportunity to possibly to see some rare butterflies, such as the Karner
blue, regal fritillary, and the ottoe skipper, along with many more common
species," Wilder said.

Wilder said the field days, most importantly, will help raise awareness
about endangered species and their habitat.

"The populations of many pollinators, including butterflies, are declining
throughout their ranges," Wilder said. "Fort McCoy is home to one of the
largest remaining populations of the federally endangered Karner blue
butterfly.

"Fort McCoy is also home to three species of butterflies that are currently
undergoing status reviews by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine
if they require protection under the Endangered Species Act," he said. These
species are the monarch, frosted elfin, and regal fritillary butterflies.
Fort McCoy also has the only remaining population of ottoe skipper
butterflies in Wisconsin.

The ottoe skipper butterfly is a Wisconsin endangered species that is also
declining throughout its range, Wilder said.

Field day participants are encouraged to dress for the field and to bring
binoculars, cameras, and butterfly field guides, if they have them.

"People should be prepared to have some fun," he said. "This is the first
time we are doing this, and it should be enjoyable for those that attend.
This event also will provide a unique opportunity for people to learn about
these rare butterflies, along with the possibility of seeing and
photographing them. The event will occur rain or shine."

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