Witness the second flight of the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly

The Prairie Enthusiast-Prairie Sands Chapter of Marquette and Waushara counties invites you to witness the second flight of the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly on Sunday, July 21 at Mecan Prairie, near Coloma-the privately owned prairie and savanna restoration of John Shillinglaw.

On the Endangered Species list since 1992, the Karner Blue Butterfly needs lupine, and lupine needs dry prairie and savanna—two rare and endangered ecosystems found in the Central Sands region of Marquette and Waushara Counties.

John Shillinglaw explains, “Karner Blue Butterflies are bivoltine, which means they hatch two broods or flights during the summer. The first flight is usually early June and the second later in July.” Because they are endangered, scientists from the DNR and US Fish and Wildlife come to Mecan Prairie during both of these flights to count the number of species found on this 200+ acres prairie and savanna filled with lupine, the only plant the caterpillars of the Karner blue eat.


The tour begins at 9:30 a.m., and John suggests you bring a picnic lunch and stay to visit for a while. He also suggested you bring a kayak, if you have one, and he can give you directions of where to launch on the Mecan River or Mecan Springs. The prairie has a few mowed paths and a port-a-potty. John suggests you wear hiking shoes and bring your own water, binoculars, and kayaks or canoes.


Directions to the prairie are: Go east on Hwy 21 at Coloma for 5 miles to Richford where you turn right on Hwy B heading south.  Go through Richford on B nine tenths of a mile, then turn left on Hwy JJ heading east.  Go 4.3 miles on JJ and you will see a cemetery on the right.  Here you make a very sharp right turn onto Czech Rd. almost heading back west.  (If you reach a stop sign on JJ, you have gone too far.)  Go about ¼ mile on Czech Rd. and you come out of a woods and see a prairie on the left.  This is part of Mecan Prairie.  My phone # is 920-213-8037.  My car is a blue Subaru Outback which should be parked on the road.