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?

  • Submit Karner observations through www.iNaturalist.org. Refer to the iNaturalist Instructions for a step-by-step description of how to enter an observation into iNaturalist. 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.
  • Sign up for one of our free trainings. More information is below.
photo of Karner blue butterfly

Training day details

Trainings are canceled for 2020 and will resume in 2021. Contact Chelsea Weinzinger (608) 397-0631, with questions.

June 11th (2pm-4pm) – Sandhill Wildlife Area
June 12th (1pm-3pm) – Hartman Creek State Park
June 13th (1:30pm-3:30pm) – Crex Meadows Wildlife Area
June 14th (12:30pm-2:30pm) – Black River Falls DNR Service Center
June 20th (11am-1pm) – Beaver Creek Reserve
*NOTE: this training is for volunteers ONLY. This training will NOT fulfill HCP certification requirements.
What to expect at the training?

Prior to the training you will receive an email with details about your specific training date (locations, parking, etc.). We will begin the training with a "classroom portion" introducing the Karner blue butterfly, its life cycle, and how to identify this species. We will also discuss submitting data through iNaturalist. After the classroom portion, we will head out to our field site to look for Karners and practice submitting observations using iNaturalist.
*Please download iNaturalist to your smart phone prior to the training for efficiency

What to bring to the training day?
  • Water bottle
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Hiking boots/long pants
  • Smart phone (with iNaturalist app downloaded)
photo of Karner blue butterfly
Photos courtesy of Chelsea Weinzinger, WiDNR

For more information contact:

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