The View from Here: Observations on Climate Change, Habitat Loss, and other Challenges Facing Baltimore Checkerspots and other Maryland Butterflies
Animals across the planet are threatened by an alarming number of factors, many of which can be traced back to the consequence of an ever-increasing human population. While all species are connected to one another through a complex web of relationships, many are being increasingly pushed to the margins, and are now experiencing life as rare, threatened, and endangered species. They are increasingly cut off from optimal habitats and from other populations of their own species. Insects, while still ubiquitous on the landscape, are not immune to this denigrated role. An alarming number of insect species are currently in decline, as are their increasingly fragmented habitats, resulting in a landscape they cannot easily traverse. Climate is expected to exacerbate these impacts and is predicted to result in the disappearance of Baltimore Checkerspots – Maryland’s State Insect – from the Maryland Piedmont. This talk focuses on research, anecdotes, and predictions about the consequences of climate change on Checkerspots and other butterflies in the Mid-Atlantic Region and will allow time for a discussion on how we as citizens might be a voice for change.
Guest Presenter: Paula Becker, Ecologist, Maryland DNR Wildlife & Heritage Service will present on behalf of Jen Selfridge, Invertebrate Ecologist, Maryland DNR Wildlife & Heritage Service
Thursday, February 23rd
Jen Selfridge serves as the Invertebrate Ecologist for the Natural Heritage Program, Wildlife and Heritage Service, of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Originally from Brooklyn, New York, she started her career studying threatened and endangered shorebirds on New York State barrier beaches after receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from the City University of New York – Brooklyn College. She later managed the Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City until moving to Syracuse to obtain her Master of Science Degree in Conservation Biology at the State University of New York – College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Upon completion of her degree, she moved to Montana where she surveyed mammals and birds in remote areas of the eastern part of the state. She moved to Maryland in 2005 and has served as the State’s Invertebrate Ecologist since that time.
At DNR, Jen oversees the state list of rare, threatened, and endangered invertebrates. In addition to inventory projects and rare species monitoring, she conducts research into the life history and habitat needs for often poorly known insect species. She plans and participates in management and restoration projects, including prescribed burns, mechanical clearing, and thinning projects, invasives species control and meadow enhancement. She believes that even the smallest creatures have fascinating stories to tell. She enjoys hiking in the mountains of the northeast and is an avid reader of fiction.
Paula Becker has been an ecologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Program for over 25 years. Her current duties include Volunteer Coordination and Outreach for the State’s non-game and endangered species program, as well as rare species surveys and habitat restoration. Prior to joining Maryland DNR, she served as a naturalist for New Jersey State Parks and Forests, provided Integrated Pest Management at a native plant nursery, and trained as a wildlife rehabilitator in Seattle, Washington. She holds a dual Bachelor’s degree in Forest Biology and Resource Management, with concentrations in wildlife biology and plant ecology from the State University of New York – College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry.