Taylor’s Checkerspot Larval Release

Team Checkerspot met to release larval on the Helliwell Park bluffs in March.

This May, be on the lookout for the Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly flitting about on the Park’s bluffs.

Checkerspots are an extremely rare endangered species which has been Red-listed by the Canadian government. Once common in coastal Garry Oak ecosystems from Hornby Island to Oregon, First Nations people referred to the butterflies as Whulge, meaning a connection with the land, and it also is their name for the Salish Sea. Salish people successfully managed coastal ecosystems for millennia until colonialism arrived in force in the 1800’s with little understanding of the delicate balance in nature.

This is part of a multi-year project to restore habitat including providing essential host and nectar plants through propagation and planting out twice per year. Since 2016 many thousands of native plants have been planted by project staff and local volunteers.

Larval release photos by barb biagi.

Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly by Gerry Ambury.