Small blue-purple butterfly on green foliage
The Karner blue butterfly. Mason Wheatley/USFWS

The words “butterfly conservation” don’t typically bring to mind a military base.

Yet the New Hampshire Army National Guard base in the city of Concord has become a force multiplier for the endangered Karner blue, New Hampshire’s state butterfly. Since 2000, this vintage barracks-turned-laboratory been the site of an innovative butterfly captive-rearing program that has added more than 35,000 individual Karner blues to the local population.

“This program is a game-changer for the Karner blue”, endangered species biologist Maria Tur tells me, as we watch the release of this year’s cohort of butterflies into the wild.

Now the program is inspiring work to support other species that need our help.

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Story by Mason Wheatley