Acting as a Scientific Assistant, Savannah Salas joined the Taylor’s Checkerspot recovery project for the 2015 season. Growing up on Denman Island, Savannah’s passion for nature was fueled by Denman’s complex ecosystems that the Taylor’s Checkerspot also calls home. Intending to pursue a career in conservation biology, Savannah is an undergraduate student at the University of Victoria working towards a double major in Biology and Environmental Science. The lab and field work being done with the Checkerspot provides an excellent facet to apply classroom knowledge to hands-on experience in the rearing lab. With many hours of planning, research and optimizing rearing techniques this winter, Savannah and Peter successfully guided over four hundred larvae out of diapause, reared them through a final Instar VI and brought 89 into pupation for breeding purposes. Savannah has gained much knowledge in these first few weeks and is very excited to continue the Checkerspot mating, rearing and releasing processes to help re-establish a viable population in the Denman Island Butterfly Reserve.
Faced with space imitations last season, the Taylor’s Checkerspot Conservation Breeding Facility (TCCBF) crew are building an additional and separate rearing space in order to manage the health of the breeding colony. The room will serve as an isolation unit to monitor and test the larvae in a separate environment. After falling many trees, and clearing bush with a Kubota tractor, the area is ready for construction. Savannah quickly picked up the skill to operate the front-end loader to move stumps and debris for the site preparation. Savannah’s construction experience while working with her Dad will come in handy.