The Atala Steppingstone Project
Once thought extinct, the rare Florida atala butterfly was rediscovered and can thrive with a little help from Florida residents. The UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie County, the Manatee Observation and Education Center, Heathcote Botanical Gardens and FIU are working with residents along the Indian River and St. Lucie River estuaries to adopt atala-friendly landscaping practices. Partners are Extension Agents Ken Gioeli (lead) and Kate Rotindo, Manatee Center Manager Rachel Tennant, FIU Doctoral Researcher Sandy Koi, and Heathcote Botanical Garden liaisons Alisia Kifer and Christina Adams. Students in the 2021 Florida Master Naturalist Interpretation Special Topics Course were also engaged in this project. UF Graphic Designer Michele Wood used her amazing talent to express a complex concept in infographic format. The final product was the infographic shown below which details the Atala Steppingstone Project plan.
Reference information for the rare Florida atala butterfly:
Florida Coonties and Atala Butterflies
Atala Butterfly, Atala Hairstreak, Coontie Hairstreak, Eumaeus atala Poey 1832 (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae)
Publications Written by Sandy Koi
Most common garden plants for atala butterflies
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