This spring, as part of a multi-organizational collaboration with the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy to bring back the Palos Verdes blue butterfly from the brink of extinction, California State University, Dominguez Hills earth science students and faculty participated in the release of hundreds of the propagated animals back into the wild at the Linden H. Chandler Reserve, a 28.5-acre property located in Rolling Hills Estates.
“I was really excited that I was able to join everybody and release some of the butterflies. It was just a spectacular event and they are absolutely beautiful insects. I’m glad I was a part of that,” said Jenny Greer, who graduated from CSU Dominguez Hills in May with a bachelor’s in environmental science. “I really didn’t know a whole lot about extinct insects and/or animals–just what I learned in class, so to be able to apply it and see it, was just a really great experience for me.”
Glaucopsyche lygdamus palosverdesensis–its scientific name–was designated as an endangered species in 1980 by the federal government. By the early 1980s, the blue butterfly was thought to have been completely killed off due to habitat loss from urban development and other factors such as off-road vehicle traffic, weed control, and non-native plant invasion. However, a remnant population was discovered in 1994 at the Defense Fuel Support Point in San Pedro, providing an opportunity for reintroduction efforts.
As a culmination of habitat restoration carried out by students and faculty from CSU Dominguez Hills, in partnership with students from the local HERO Clubs and Moorpark College, as well as the Audubon Youth Environmental Service Program, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and supported by Toyota and Audubon’s TogetherGreen fellowship program, the project provided the newly hatched blue butterflies with native species plants on which they feed and breed.
To hear what CSU Dominguez Hills students have to say about the restoration project, click on the following audio files:[soundcloud id=’6695554′ color=’#ff7700′ format=’set’]