Karner Volunteer Monitoring Program

volunteers collecting field data

What is the Karner Volunteer Monitoring Program?

The Karner blue butterfly is a federally endangered butterfly. Wisconsin is one of the last remaining strongholds in the entire Karner range. The Karner Volunteer Monitoring Program's goals are to document Karner observations throughout the state in order to track the population status, distribution, and trends. These data add to our long term data set and also aid the DNR in habitat management decisions. Data collected by volunteers is instrumental in allowing us to meet these goals.

photo of Karner blue butterfly

Why are Karners important?

Karners, like other butterflies, are very sensitive to environmental changes making them excellent indicators of healthy ecosystems. They serve as an early warning system for the ecosystem.

Karners' only host plant, wild lupine, grows in sandy soils, commonly found in barrens, prairies, and savannas. These types of habitat are also globally imperiled. The conservation and restoration work we do for Karners also benefits these habitats which over 50 other SGCNs (species of greatest conservation need) require for survival.

Visit the DNR website to learn more.

How can you get involved?

  • Sign up for one of our free trainings! Learn about Karner biology & identification and how to submit observations.
  • 2019 Training Dates
    June 1st (11am-1pm)
    Black River DNR Service Center
    June 8th (1pm-3pm)
    Hartman Creek State Park
    June 15th (11:30am-1:30pm)
    Wild Rose Fish Hatchery
    June 22nd (10am-12pm)
    Sandhill Wildlife Area
    *NOTE: this training is for volunteers ONLY. This training will NOT fulfill HCP certification requirements.
  • Submit Karner observations through www.iNaturalist.org. Please read the survey protocol before submitting observations.
  • Plant native lupine and other nectar forbs (be sure to plant native Lupinus perennis and NOT Lupinus polyphyllus because Karners cannot eat the latter).
  • Track the time you spend on any Karner related project using the Volunteer Time Tracking Sheet. Submitting this information to the DNR allows us to continue applying for much needed grants to continue managing for this species.
photo of Karner blue butterfly
Photos courtesy of Chelsea Gunther, WiDNR

For more information contact:

Chelsea Gunther
KBB Recovery Coordinator
Chelsea.Gunther@wisconsin.gov
(608) 397-0631