Butterflies are the quintessential symbol of renewal through change. In a world that is rapidly changing, the Highland Wonders educational series provides opportunities for our community to learn more about the natural world, with the hope that these experiences may renew our enthusiasm to take care of the rich biodiversity around us.
On Sunday, June 17, 2018, renowned naturalist David Droppers led us on a butterfly tour through the Okanogan Highlands, with the help of two butterfly aficionados from the Methow, Joyce Bergen and Cheryl Bellin. This exceptional butterfly team helped us observe the butterflies we encountered at each site, opening our eyes to the intricacies of butterfly biology and ecology. We visited locations on MaryAnn Creek road near Chesaw and on the north side of Mt Hull near Molson/Oroville, and saw a very interesting diversity of species! We discussed the different habitats and ecosystem elements that support the life stages of butterflies, and the unique species that we have in our region and how to identify them. Thanks to the support of local community members, we were able to fund this event as well as provide several copies of Caitlin LaBar’s Pocket Guide to the Butterflies of Washington for the field trip, as well as a copy of her most recent publication, Butterflies of the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area.
Download our list of species observed during the field trip!
Special thanks to Cheryl Bellin and David Droppers for putting the species list together, and to David, Cheryl, and Joyce for leading this event. And congrats on your “lifer” butterfly species, David (Silver-bordered fritillary) and Cheryl (Garita skipperling)!
As an avid naturalist, David Droppers has worked with a variety of wildlife species in a variety of habitats, and has put his skills to work for many agencies and organizations. His background is in teaching, field research, statistics, and data management, with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Resource Management and a minor in Quantitative Sciences, and a Master’s degree in Environmental Education. As an engaging public speaker and field instructor, David has given presentations on wildlife, natural history, and conservation issues for numerous organizations, from the Mountaineers and Audubon society chapters to the Master Gardeners and gardening clubs.
David is currently engaged in a pollinator inventory project with the Forest Service, creating inventories of butterfly, moth, and bumblebee species along many popular trails along the Mountain Loop Highway in Snohomish County, as well as assessing resource use of these pollinators for potential restoration work.