Saturday, September 14, 2013

What happens when prisoners breed endangered butterflies

An endangered species of butterfly has found an unusual set of champions — the inmates of the Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women in Washington.

While the number of Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies has dwindled in Washington in recent years, the Mission Creek inmates are working hard to help the species rebound, reports the Nature magazine blog. By breeding the butterflies in a greenhouse outside the prison, the inmates released more than 800 butterflies into the wild this year, while other local prison groups pitched in efforts to conserve the plants that these butterflies prefer to lay their eggs on. So far, the Mission Creek inmates have raised more than 3,600 caterpillars for next year’s release.

The Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly revival is a part of the Sustainability in Prisons Project, the creation of frequent TED speaker Nalini Nadkarni. Below, check out Nalini’s powerful TEDTalks, on researching animals that thrive in rainforest canopies and on bringing appreciation of nature into prisons. {Read on TED Blog}