Connecting People with Nature
Northeast Region
Karner blue butterfly. Credit: USFWS
Karner blue butterfly on an ankle. Credit: USFWS

CDIP Intern's Initiation to his "Summer with the Service"

On his second day as a Career Discovery Intern with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Jamal McDonald traveled to rare Karner blue butterfly habitat restoration areas in New York State. Jamal was assigned to interview Service biologists working on the program, as well as capture video footage and photos of any butterflies. Read about Jamal's experience and introduction to his summer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service below.

The Karner Blue Butterfly

The Karner blue butterfly is a scarce species that can be found in Indiana, New Hampshire, Michigan, Minnesota, and New York. Samantha and I, another intern here at The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, traveled to New York to learn more about the endangered butterfly. Before we went on our mission we were not aware of the actual size of the Karner blue butterflies; little did we know that the butterfly was smaller than a nickel. Once we found this out, we became a little discouraged because we thought it would be impossible to capture pictures and video footage of something so small. During the hike in the woods one of our tasks was to get an interview with one of the biologists and, more importantly, to specifically target questions pertaining to the Karner blue butterfly. After the interview we gained some very useful knowledge, such as the butterfly’s normal life span. Biologist Robin stated that Karner blue butterflies do not tend to live longer than a week. The butterflies have so much to do with so little time! After chasing a bunch of the butterflies for about 15 minutes, we were afraid that we were not going to complete our task of getting footage and pictures of Karner blue butterflies. On our way out of the hiking trails, a Karner blue butterfly landed on Samantha’s shoe. If this was not perfect timing, then I don’t know what is. The butterfly acted as a model as the group took multiple pictures of it. It remained still and peaceful on Samantha’s foot for a good 10 to 15 minutes; it was awesome. So, it turned out to be a great experience. We got to complete all of our work and at the same time we got to get out the office and learn something new about nature and wildlife.

Story by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service intern, Jamal McDonald

Last updated: June 21, 2011
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