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Comox Valley Nature presentation offers update on checkerspot butterfly recovery project

Comox Valley Nature is hosting an online lecture by Jennifer Heron and Chris Junck.
The colourful Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly has been reintroduced on Hornby Island, BC. Photo courtesy the Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly Recovery Project.

Comox Valley Nature is hosting an online lecture by Jennifer Heron and Chris Junck.

The lecture entitled “An update on the Checkerspot butterfly recovery project” is on Sunday April 10, 7–9 p.m.

Given the current guidelines for COVID-19 prevention, Comox Valley Nature has made arrangements to have a live, online webinar for the presentation.

To register, go to

The Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha taylori) had a historical range from Hornby Island, southeastern Vancouver Island and south into Oregon. The species was thought to be extirpated in Canada by 2000 since no checkerspots were found on the last known sites on Hornby Island. However, new populations were found on Denman Island in 2005 and near Campbell River in 2018.

The checkerspot butterfly is federally listed as endangered and the decline is likely due to habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation. Checkerspot butterflies need open sunny meadows where they can find suitable host plants (food for larvae and nectar-producing flowers for adults), such as woolly sunflower, common camas, small-flowered blue-eyed Mary, wild strawberry, sea blush, and yarrow. Meadows in Helliwell Provincial Park on Hornby Island have become less suitable for butterflies due to invasions of non-native plants and encroaching forests.

The Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly Recovery Project is a collaborative effort to restore Taylor’s checkerspot populations in British Columbia through habitat enhancement, captive butterfly rearing and release, monitoring, public outreach, and other activities. More information at

Heron is a provincial invertebrate conservation specialist with the Species Conservation Science Unit of the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

She has been working on invertebrate conservation topics beginning with her MSc in 1998 studying ants in the Okanagan. She works with other invertebrate specialists, conservation and stewardship groups to develop recovery-planning approaches and conservation status ranks to invertebrate groups and achieve common public outreach goals.

Heron is the chair of the Taylor’s Checkerspot Recovery Project Team and also co-chairs the Arthropods Specialist Subcommittee for the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

Junck is a conservation biologist with a BSc in biology from the University of Alberta. He was a member of BC’s Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team (GOERT) staff from 2002 – 2015 and currently serves as a director of the board, a voluntary position. He has reported on recent recovery activities for checkerspot butterflies in Helliwell Park on Hornby Island including the removal of Douglas fir, replacing the invasive plants with native species and the introduction of checkerspot caterpillars.

This is an excellent opportunity for the public to learn more about the recovery of the checkerspot butterfly. Meetings are open to the public, including children and youth. The lectures are free, though a $4 contribution from non-members is appreciated. New memberships are always welcomed.

Anyone interested in this lecture or participating in CVNS activities can visit