For those of you who plan to be in the Chicago area on Saturday, March 7th, perhaps you’ll be interested in attending the 2009 Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network Annual Indoor Workshop. I’ll be giving a talk entitled, “From Hilltops to Swamps: Insects in Missouri’s Rarest Prairies,” in which I’ll focus on the natural history and some associated insects in two of Missouri’s most critically imperiled natural communities – the loess hilltop prairies in the northwestern corner of the state, and the sand prairies of the southeastern lowlands. How a beetle guy ended up being invited to talk to a butterfly group is still a little confusing to me, but apparently IBMN Director, Doug Taron (author of Gossamer Tapestry) put in a good word for me.
The Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network (IBMN) is a citizen scientist program monitoring the health of butterfly populations throughout northeastern and central Illinois.
The IBMN was initiated in 1987 by The Nature Conservancy to explore the effects of habitat management on invertebrates. From 7 sites in the Chicagoland area in its first year, the program has expanded greatly and is now monitoring more than 100 sites throughout Illinois. Butterflies are ideal “indicator organisms” with which to monitor the effects of prescribed burning and other management techniques, since many species are restricted to intact prairie and savanna remnants by narrow habitat requirements. The fact that they are relatively easy to identify allows them to be monitored in a cost effective manner with the help of dedicated amateurs. Much the same can be said for tiger beetles (which will – surprise! – be featured prominently my talk).
The workshop will be held Saturday, March 7, 2009, 9:30 AM until 3:00 PM at the Gail Borden Public Library, 270 North Grove Avenue, Elgin (directions). Registration is required, contact Mel Manner at (847) 464-4426 or by email.
Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2009