How islanders can protect the Island Marble Butterfly

Submitted by On Sacred Ground.

In our last posting, we at On Sacred Ground described a new volunteer program, a collaboration between partners—government agencies, non-profit organizations, scientists, and private landowners—all dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the Endangered IslandMarble butterfly. On Sacred Ground will serve as the hub for volunteer opportunities among all conservation partners.

How can you help the Island Marble butterfly? Donors and volunteers will play a vital role in preventing extinction of the IMB. The Island Marble Butterfly Volunteer Program is kicking off its fall fundraising drive. Please consider giving to the volunteer program this Giving Tuesday or during the upcoming holiday season.

Volunteers will support habitat expansion and maintenance on more than 20 Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances plots with host plants that require annual ground disturbance conditions to thrive. Volunteers will also help link habitat through travel corridors, and educate their neighbors about the IMB’s preferred community of host and nectar plants.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to fund the new IMB volunteer program for the first year only through a cooperative agreement that began in 2021, and we estimate an initial, annual need of $60,000 to run the volunteer program. We need your donations for staff time, tools, continuing education materials, and more. In the coming months, we will ask for your time to support habitat before and during the spring flight season.

To donate to the IMB Volunteer Program, please go to our website: Pollinators, like the IMB, are integral to the fertilization of plants that support entire ecosystems as well as our human food crops. We don’t yet fully understand the importance of the Island Marble’s role in the islands’ coastal prairie plant web, but we do know that Island Marble has adapted to prefer two more recently introduced mustard family species as host plants: Brassica rapa and Sysimbrium altissimum.

On Sacred Ground Land Trust is a permaculture-driven nonprofit, with long-term stewardship practices at the forefront of all program and project pursuits. We evaluate all potential projects or programs through the lens of the three permaculture ethics: care of earth, care of people, and fairshare (or share the surplus). We set high-impact ecological restoration projects in motion in the San Juans and beyond through considering those three ethics. We ask ourselves this question:

Will we leave a fair share of intrinsic enjoyment of the Island Marble to our children’s children?

In order to carry out our collaborative efforts on behalf of the IMB, we have recently hired Walt Andrews as the volunteer coordinator and Diana Stepita as our volunteer recruiter.

If you would like to sign-up as an IMB volunteer, please contact coordinator Walt Andrews or 360-375-3070. Private landowners interested in adding habitat on their land, may reach out to Paul Andersson, District Manager of the San Juan Islands Conservation District at or 360-378-6621.