Butterfly program to help Oregon inmates, environment

Wilsonville, Ore.- A butterfly recovery lab will soon open at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville. The program will allow women in custody to gain job skills while helping the endangered Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly.

The lab will be located in a medium facility housing unit and will give inmates experience as butterfly lab technicians. Along with raising butterflies, the project will also provide gardeners training to raise the plants needed to feed the butterflies when they are in the caterpillar stage.

The project is the result of a grant awarded to the Oregon Zoo, which will provide oversight. Equipment will be provided through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

USFWS will drop off the first egg clusters in April for the butterfly lab technicians to start raising the caterpillars to pupation phase. The pupas will be taken to a protected habitat to hatch into adult butterflies.
Coffee Creek Correctional Facility houses more than 1,200 women. It is Oregon’s only women’s prison.

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