Fla. Museum researcher receives $365,000 grant for butterfly conservation workshops

November 5th, 2008

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Imperiled butterflies across the U.S. may benefit in the coming years from a series of innovative workshops designed by a Florida Museum of Natural History researcher with over a decade of experience working to recover the endangered Miami blue butterfly in south Florida.

Jaret Daniels, assistant curator of Lepidoptera at the Florida Museum’s McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, received $365,299 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in September. His winning grant proposes organizing and executing five training workshops over a three-year period through the Imperiled Butterfly Conservation and Management program.

“The intent of this program is to raise the bar for butterfly conservation,” Daniels said. “We’re targeting institutions that participate in butterfly conservation, or plan to do so in the future, but whose staff is limited by lack of information or experience; especially regarding techniques or methodologies for captive breeding and reintroduction of imperiled butterfly species.”

Daniels has overseen captive breeding and reintroduction efforts for the state-endangered Miami blue, a butterfly that in 1999 was known to have less than 50 individuals in the wild, located on Bahia Honda in the Florida Keys.

Daniels’ program was one of eight proposals selected by the Institute of Museum and Library Services from 49 applicants. The institute’s director, Anne-Imelda Radice, said that because of the constantly evolving nature of museum fields, it is vital that museum professionals are offered needed training to not only keep current but to be in a position to think forward.

“Twenty-first Century Museum Professionals grants are awarded to meet these needs by funding classes, collection assessments and pre-professional training programs for all interested museum employees to ensure a savvy museum workforce,” Radice said in a prepared statement. The institute is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums.

Partnering institutions for the Imperiled Butterfly Conservation and Management program include: Butterfly Conservation International in Gainesville; Chicago Academy of Sciences’ Peggy Notebart Nature Museum; Oregon Zoo in Portland, Ore.; Toledo Zoo in Toledo, Ohio; Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami; and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in Silver Spring, Md.

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Source: Jaret Daniels, 352-273-2022, jdaniels@flmnh.ufl.edu
Writer: DeLene Beeland
Media contact: Paul Ramey, 352-273-2054, pramey@flmnh.ufl.edu