Michigan’s Most Endangered Species

Poweshiek Skipperling

Wilder Side of Oakland County

Beautiful and Rare, Springfield Township discusses an endangered butterfly, pictured above by CMU Research Assistant Michael Belitz.

“Springfield Township’s Shiawassee Basin Preserve, known for protecting one of the highest quality prairie fen wetlands in Michigan, is also one of the last places on earth to sustain a critically endangered butterfly known as the Poweshiek Skipperling. The Poweshiek Skipperling is a small (<1.25” wingspan) butterfly that depends on high quality prairie habitats like our fen for its survival. Until recently, the Poweshiek was one of the most common prairie butterflies in North America, being found in many states and provinces from the Great Plains region to the Midwest, but around 2005 the population began a mysterious decline in abundance. Today, there are less than five hundred individuals occurring in only a handful of locations across their former range.”

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A Shiawassee Basin Preserve Early Morning Adventure

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Black-eyed Susan

A few fireflies still twinkled on the dark side of dawn as I prepared to head to the Shiawassee Basin Preserve, a 515-acre sanctuary managed by Springfield Township Parks and Recreation. My plan last Saturday morning was simple. Drive 20 miles from my house to the Village of Davisburg and then head north on Eaton Road to the northernmost access point of this heavily wooded, glacially sculpted preserve to capture summer sunrise images and trail tales amidst its moraines, meadows and wetlands. Things did not go as I planned, but sometimes that happens when exploring on the wilder side of Oakland County.

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