About the Survey

From 2002 to 2007 volunteer butterfly enthusiasts spent thousands of hours in the field in an effort to record the status and distribution of Vermont butterflies, the first systematic statewide butterfly atlas to be undertaken. Twenty years later, we are ready for the second Vermont Butterfly Atlas that will help us docuement and understand changes in their populations.


Butterfly surveys are conducted using a grid based on USGS topographic quadrangles. Each quad was divided into six equal blocks for a total of 1,104 blocks. Each block is approximately three square miles. One block from each quad was randomly selected as the priority block for a total of 184 priority blocks.

Participants attempt to verify the presence of as many species of butterfly as possible within each block, noting a variety of other data with each record. The result is the most detailed database of the spatial and seasonal distribution of Vermont butterflies ever compiled.

The atlas represent a “snapshot” in time of Vermont butterfly distribution. This is the primary function of a biological atlas for conservation purposes. Butterfly populations, like other organisms, are not static but change as a result of land use and climate change, new food plants, and other environmental factors.

Project Staff

Kent McFarland, Director
Michael Hallworth, Data Scientist, 

Cooperating Organizations and Agencies

Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife
Vermont Entomological Society
Green Mountain National Forest
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
Natural Resources Conservation Service – Vermont
North Branch Nature Center

Advisory Group Members

Toby Alexander, Natural Resources Conservation Service
Terri Armata, Community Scientist
Sean Beckett, North Branch Nature Center
Susan Elliott, Community Scientist
Mark Ferguson, Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife
Maxim Larrivee, Montreal Insectarium
Meredith Naughton, Green Mountain National Forest
Bryan Pfeiffer, Biologist
Ryan Rebozo, Vermont Center for Ecostudies
Judy Rosovsky, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
Michael Sabourin, Vermont Entomological Society
Sue Staats, Green Mountain National Forest

Major Sponsors and Supporters

Financial support is provided by the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife – State Wildlife Grant,  Charles E. & Edna T. Brundage Foundation, Davis Conservation Foundation, the Park Foundation, and individual supporters and donors of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies.