Did you know there is a threatened butterfly, it is the Regal Fritillary, once common in the Northeast, but now has declined over the last 50 years due to grassland destruction. Lebanon Valley’s own Fort Indiantown Gap is home to the last remaining colony of Regals in the U.S.
There are only 2 weekends every year that you can see this beautiful and delicate creature. I, along with 200 other nature lovers went for a walk in hopes of spotting these butterflies at Fort Indiantown Gap, recently. The weather was sunny, humidity was finally gone, a slight breeze was refreshing, but not ideal conditions for butterflies. Imagine how hard it is for them to fly in the wind.
It is amazing to learn all the efforts people are making on behalf of these little butterflies. Eggs are collected from wild caught Fritillaries at Ft. Indiantown Gap and taken care of at ZooAmerica, Hersheypark.
Their habitat is recreated and maintained with frequent soil disturbance, patchy fires and stewardship efforts that create a diverse grassland for this species to thrive. Not to mention the research, monitoring, restorative and management efforts by many naturalists and volunteers.
Pictured here is Mark Swartz giving our tour. One good shot of a Regal Fritallary, and one good shot of my friends and I having a celebratory beverage at the Batdorf Restaurant after our adventure.