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Research Projects: 
Insects, Soils, Plants and Invasion

Twenty-one people participated in the third annual MPG Ranch Fourth of July Butterfly Count as part of a long-term, citizen-science butterfly monitoring program through the North American Butterfly Association (NABA). Observations from our one-day count contribute to data about the distribution and relative population sizes of butterfly species, and how they may change over time. I led volunteers to Mount Baldy and Davis Creek. Jeff Pippen led volunteers to Woodchuck Creek, Whaley Draw, and the Bitterroot River floodplain. Despite covering more territory this year, we noticed fewer butterflies and had a smaller overall species count than in previous years.
We net butterflies when they present an identification challenge, or to provide participants with an opportunity to observe a butterfly’s field markings. In the photo above, Kristi DuBois and I examine a butterfly she caught on Mount Baldy.

Brian Williams shows off two butterflies in the viewing cage.

2015 MPG Butterfly Count Species List Totals

About the Author

Marirose Kuhlman

Marirose graduated with a BA in biology with an emphasis in botanical science from the University of Montana, Missoula. She gained experience in botany working as a field technician for the Forest Service, non-profits, and the university. She has also worked as a lab technician in a salmon and trout genetics lab, and has organized environmental education classes for local homeschooled children.

Marirose works as a botanist for MPG Ranch where she performs vegetation surveys and conducts a pollinator monitoring program. She lives in a little hand-built cabin in the woods with her husband and their four young children who keep them very, very busy.

Other Dispatches