An article by Ernest Williams, the William R. Kenan Professor of Biology Emeritus and Lecturer in Biology, appears in the August issue of Conservationist, a publication of the New York State Department of Conservation (DEC). Titled “Rome Sand Plains: Restoring a Special Place in Central New York,” the article describes work being done to help restore the environment of the frosted elfin butterfly.
Williams noted that unchecked forest growth in the area has reduced the availability of open habitat required by the elfins and blue lupines, a plant the butterfly depends on as an egg-laying site and as food for the caterpillars.
He said that for the past 20 years “The Nature Conservancy, DEC, and many volunteers — including biologists and students from Hamilton College and Morrisville State College,” have worked to plant blue lupine seedlings in open areas.
These efforts have helped increase the coverage area of wild blue lupines and as a result, the habitat for frosted elfins has expanded, Williams said.