Karen ReaganKaren is a graduate student in biology at the University of Washington focusing on terrestrial ecology. Her love of nature and being out doors has led to her work with natural history and interest in strengthening ways of connecting people with the natural world around them. She feels there is a certain joy in sharing the gift of natural history with others; a spark of wonder when the ornate stigma of a flower draws someone in for the first time; a secret door that opens when neighbors stop to watch the ants battle as they swarm the sidewalk. She wants to continue to be a conduit for these connections to the natural world, drawing the attention of her community to the vast beauty of the living things that surround us.
One of the interesting things now is that the only place where there is a fire regime in the prairies of western Washington that even vaguely resembles what used to happen, is the artillery impact area of the military base. When they shoot into these grasslands, if the grass is dry, it ignites. And so that's where we find the most beautiful native prairies, and in this artillery impact area is where the biggest known population of Taylor's Checkerspot butterflies are. It's funny, and sad, and ironic and encouraging. I have a lot of mixed emotions about it.