A Rare Butterfly Found Refuge At An Unlikely Place: A PA Military Base


The Fort Indiantown Gap National Guard training center in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania is the only known habitat for the Regal Fritillary butterfly in the eastern U.S. (Marie Cusick/ StateImpact Pennsylvania)

(Fort Indiantown Gap) — About a million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. A stark United Nations report earlier this year found human activities are driving the decline.

The regal fritillary, a rare butterfly that’s nearly disappeared from the eastern United States, has found refuge in a surprising place — a National Guard training center in central Pennsylvania.

The training center welcomes hundreds of people each summer who want to see the “regals.” On a recent outing, despite a mixup that led to unexpected flights from military aircraft nearby, a group of visitors was not disappointed:

StateImpact Pennsylvania is a collaboration among WITF, WHYY, and the Allegheny Front to report on the commonwealth’s energy economy.