The meadows and mostly-deciduous forest of Woodend Sanctuary are ideal habitat for many of the butterfly species native to Montgomery County, MD. However, systematic butterfly surveys were last conducted by ANS staff in 1994. Habitat changes since then have likely affected the resident butterfly populations both positively and negatively.
The overpopulation of White-tailed Deer in the area has reduced the forest understory by heavy browsing; but habitat restoration efforts begun in 2013 have reintroduced several native plants to one of the meadows. In the near future (possibly as early as this fall), ANS plans to install a deer exclusion fence around the property.
This summer we begin a long-term, systematic survey of Woodend’s butterfly species, both to update the site’s checklist for interpretive and educational uses, and to begin tracking population changes that may occur over the next several years.
We will submit our observations via iNaturalist.org, both for assistance in identifying species and so that the data we gather can be accessed by researchers worldwide. A specific project has been set up for us in iNaturalist, called Woodend Butterfly Survey.