Tracy Lee Karner
The Way I Was

Karner Blue Recovery

Tracy Lee Karner That this beautiful, blue, endangered creature shares my name, makes me irrationally partial to it.

Some days I feel kinship with the Karner blue butterfly, as if I, too, am in danger of being wiped out.

But there are quiet armies of people devoted to saving this butterfly, from school children in New Hampshire (read more about those Kids for Karners here), to landowners restoring their land with native plantings in Wisconsin (read more about grants for  landowners here). And there’s a quiet army of support and help for me (and for you).

That there are people who are willing to help (feed the hungry, save the butterfly & help their neighbor)–that’s good news!

When life starts to feel like one big danger zone, I think about all the caring people I’ve met, for example, the biologists in Wisconsin and New Hampshire who are working to restore habitat for the butterfly (many of whom I’ve worked with).
And, people like the multi-dimensionally talented Russ Schaffenberg, who graciously sent me this picture of wild lupine he planted on his property in the Karner blue butterfly region in Wisconsin. (Wild and domestic lupine are two different species–the Karner blue is finicky and will only eat the wild variety–don’t ask me why.)
Tracy Lee Karner
photo by Russ Schaffenberg, used with permission
Russ found an article I wrote for the April 2011 edition of Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine,  and contacted me because he lives in the recovery zone area and is doing his own private restoration. He’s a specialist in rare plant species of Burnett County, Wisconsin. Our mutual love of the natural worlda, of music (his drumming got him elected to the Minnesota music hall of fame), and of food (he’s a dedicated gardener and great cook) led to an email friendship, and now there’s another inspiring person in my life.
To read my article which initiated numerous new connections and relationships for me (dozens of people interested in natural habitat restoration contacted me after this was published), go here:
Tracy Lee Karner article
My article about the Karner blue butter recovery efforts in Wisconsin.

To learn about the Karner butterfly, where it lives and why it’s endangered, click here.

And to read about my surprise award from US Fish & Wildlife and Wisconsin DNR for my work in organizing a volunteer network for Karner blue recovery in Wisconsin (I helped write the application for a federal grant to support the project, and we got it!) click here:

Tracy Lee Karner
Cathy Carnes (an inspiring wildlife biologist) and Tracy Lee Karner (wearing blue and orange, sort of like the butterfly).

Think you’ve seen a Karner blue? For identification tips, click here: (This is about recognizing the butterfly, not about how to tell whether Tracy Lee Karner is in a melancholy mood.)

I’m grateful to everyone, who understands that small things matter. When people make the effort to do whatever good deeds they’re capable of accomplishing, it sparks me to do my best, too.

And I’ve learned, we don’t have to do anything grand to contribute to a heroic effort–planting a few seeds can beautify the world and provide food for an endangered butterfly.

So, let’s go plant some seeds (the real botanical kind, or kernels of inspiration/motivation/love & kindness), and enjoy the privilege of beholding a transformation.

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