Bringing the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly back to Harford County
It is Maryland’s state insect. However, the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly’s state conservation rank is now S2, meaning that it is both rare and imperiled.
We recently learned that the Forest Hill segment of the The MA & PA Heritage Trail has the kind of wetlands where the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly thrives well. These wetlands support the Checkerspot’s favorite (and only) host plant, the White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra). This section of the MA & PA Trail trail is also situated in a roughly north-south corridor of other Harford County public lands that have the same conditions. There are confirmed sightings of the Baltimore Checkerspot at both Eden Mill Nature Center (north) and as far south as the Anita C. Leight Estuary Center.
So we joined the Checkerspot Corridor Team, a unique collaboration of government, public education, public works and volunteer groups. Their mission is to bring back the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly. The focus is on public lands where larvae and butterflies have been spotted in the past and where wetlands are still intact enough to attract and maintain populations.
The Checkerspot Corridor Team includes representatives from the Eden Mill Nature Center, Anita C. Leight Estuary Center, the MA & PA Heritage Trail (all under the jurisdiction of Harford County Department of Parks & Recreation); Harford Glen Environmental Education Center and North Harford High School (Harford County Public Schools); Susquehannock Wildlife Society, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as well as the Harford County Department of Public Works.