Help Bring the Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly Back to College Park
The state insect of Maryland—the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly—only exists in small, isolated areas in the state, mostly in Western Maryland. One of the most vividly colored butterflies with its bright orange, white and black pattern, experts worry that the butterfly, once fairly common, may disappear entirely from the state.
Researchers at the University of Maryland have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $5,000 to help bring the state insect back to College Park. The funding will allow the researchers to:
- Establish and hand-rear several colonies of Baltimore Checkerspot butterflies on campus;
- Purchase and raise the butterfly’s host plant—the white turtlehead (Chelone glabra)—in greenhouse space on campus;
- Build at least three enclosures that will protect the white turtlehead plants from deer; and
- Create protected meadows on campus that feature the white turtlehead.
The native white turtlehead grows best in wet woods, marshes and stream banks. The plant is preferred by deer, which have decimated the growth of this critical plant, eliminating the Baltimore Checkerspot butterflies as well.
This crowdfunding campaign is supported by researchers in Entomology Assistant Professor Dennis vanEngelsdorp’s laboratory; members of PollinaTerps, a group working to build a pollinator-friendly community on campus; and the University of Maryland Arboretum led by Carin Celebuski.
The researchers will also collaborate with the Smithsonian Institution and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to rear and release Baltimore Checkerspot caterpillars into the enclosures in the next few years.
The team’s crowdfunding campaign runs through May 8. You can support the team at any time by visiting the Launch UMD page.
Media Relations Contact: Abby Robinson, 301-405-5845, email@example.com
About the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 7,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The college's 10 departments and more than a dozen interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $150 million.