Michigan Butterfly Network

2024 Virtual Butterfly Monitor Training | May 2, 2024

Can't make May 2nd? No worries! This training event is 100% VIRTUAL and attendance is not required - register and the training material will be emailed directly to you!

Michigan Butterfly Network’s Mission

The Michigan Butterfly Network seeks to assess the changing population status of our state’s butterfly species, evaluate the quality of Michigan ecosystems, and engage the Michigan public in significant citizen science research.

MiBN History

The seeds for the Michigan Butterfly Network (MiBN) were planted in 2009 when KNC staff participated in the National Imperiled Butterfly Network Program. In 2011, the Kalamazoo Nature Center began the development of the Michigan Butterfly Network, which is a collaboration of researchers, citizen scientists, students, land managers, and institutions across our beautiful state. Now, in 2017 we partner with over a dozen organizations and agencies in Michigan with over 50 active butterfly routes, and there are plenty more natural areas where we can monitor our butterflies.

In 2015 a team of Kalamazoo Nature Center staff and volunteers working under the guidance and instruction of Biological Research Director Ashley Wick raised Eyed Brown (Satyrodes eurydice) and Appalachian Brown (Satyrodes appalachia) butterflies as surrogate species with the hope of receiving an Endangered Species Permit in 2016 to raise the federally endangered Mitchell’s Satyr (Neonympha mitchellii) butterfly. The Mitchell’s Satyr will be raised for reintroduction to sites where it has recently disappeared.
The team approached Eyed Brown propagation with a meticulous eye for detail and extreme preparation was done before any butterfly entered the greenhouse. Much time was spent configuring the oviposition pots to best enable each Eyed Brown and Appalachian Brown female to lay the maximum number of eggs. With extreme care, Eyed Brown and Appalachian Brown butterflies were collected and transported by the team to the greenhouse from a multitude of locations . Eyed Brown females were observed to oviposit within the rearing tents in as little as one day!

The caterpillars grew rapidly and were eventually moved outside to an enclosed area that will expose them to outdoor conditions but protect them from predation. The caterpillars must overwinter appropriately so that they will emerge successfully this year. Propagation of the Eyed Brown and Appalachian Brown butterfly has proved successful thus far and every achievement with the Eyed Brown and Appalachian Brown moves the greenhouse forward towards the ultimate goal of propagating the endangered Mitchell's Satyr.

About the MiBN

Butterflies are powerful indicators of the quality and health of ecosystems. Sensitive to land use and habitat changes, many of our butterfly species have been declining in abundance due to habitat loss, fragmentation, and climate change. We must monitor both common and rare butterflies during the summer months and we need your help!

Monitoring butterfly populations over several years allows us to better understand butterfly ecology, population changes, and to direct attention to species in decline before it is too late.

This project would not be possible without the involvement of partner organizations across Michigan and intrepid citizen scientists who collect important scientific data. We are looking for partner organizations across Michigan and citizen scientists who will walk census routes and record butterfly sightings.


Volunteers can contact Jenna Putman at jputman@binderparkzoo.org for more information.


Learn more about how we are participating in saving and maintaining rare animal species.