Opinion: How Saving the Palos Verdes Blue Butterfly Helped Jana Johnson Save Herself
Jana Johnson, a struggling grad student, found solace in a cerulean-blue, thumbnail-sized butterfly that was once believed to be extinct. The Palos Verdes blue butterfly gave Johnson a new purpose in life, leading her towards the path of helping preserve one of the rarest creatures in the world. Her journey towards conservation not only brought the butterfly back from the brink of extinction but also helped her rebuild her own shattered life.
The Butterfly that Changed Johnson’s Life:
Jana Johnson’s journey towards conserving the Palos Verdes blue butterfly began when her life was in disarray. She was 34, with two little boys and a crumbling marriage. Her research into the effect of wildfires on reptiles in the Santa Monica Mountains had stalled, she was juggling multiple part-time jobs, and her family was far away in Texas. Her therapist urged her to change her visualization and pretend she was standing at the edge of a cliff with a safety net below.
That’s when she met the Palos Verdes blue butterfly, a species that was once thought to be extinct. Johnson rebuilt her shattered life by resurrecting the species. With the help of a community of friends and her devotion to the species, she built a net that helped bring the species back from the brink of extinction.
The Miraculous Survival of Palos Verdes Blue:
The Palos Verdes blue butterfly is one of the rarest creatures in the world. The species survived because of the efforts of researchers like Jana Johnson and Rudi Mattoni, who discovered the last-known colony of blues in San Pedro in 1994. Their range had historically been limited to the Palos Verdes Peninsula, which is now mostly covered with houses, highways, shopping centers, an oil refinery, a military installation, and acres of manicured turf, leaving only a few small pockets of undeveloped coastal scrub habitat.
The larvae of Palos Verdes blues require specific native plants like deerweed (Lotus Scoparius) and Santa Barbara Milk Vetch (Astragalus Trichopodus) to survive. That specificity poses a problem, as deerweed and milk vetch are disturbance plants, which means they require some kind of soil disturbance – like fire – to sprout and outgrow the other plants around them. As the frequency of fire reduced, conservationists had to think out of the box to preserve the species.
– The Palos Verdes blue butterfly is believed to be extinct even in its original range, but a few small colonies still exist in landscaped areas at the Defense Fuel Support Point near San Pedro.
– The Palos Verdes blue butterfly was designated as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1980.
– The Palos Verdes blue butterfly is so small that it fits on top of a pencil eraser.
Jana Johnson’s journey towards the conservation of the Palos Verdes blue butterfly is an example of how a single individual can make a significant impact. While rebuilding her own life, she was also able to resurrect a species that was thought to be extinct. Her story should inspire us to take action on issues that we are passionate about and work towards making a difference.
Jana Johnson’s journey towards conserving the Palos Verdes blue butterfly has been a remarkable one. Her story provides an excellent example of how resilience and determination can lead to a positive outcome. While she was able to help resurrect a species that was thought to be extinct, she also found her own purpose in life. The story of the Palos Verdes blue butterfly and Jana Johnson’s journey reminds us that we all have the power to make a difference and impact the lives of those around us.