SPP Says Goodbye and Best Wishes to Dedicated Butterfly Technician

The Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly (TCB) rearing program at Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women (MCCCW) was initiated in 2011. Inmate technicians first practiced raising painted lady butterflies in a new greenhouse just outside the facility’s gates. In less than a year they proved themselves more-than-capable at this kind of work. In 2012 they started rearing and breeding the endangered TCB.

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Carolina Landa was an inmate technician with the program from its inception. She was present for the first delivery of TCB caterpillars. She worked with SPP from 2011 to 2013 as a full-time technician. Then, while completing other programs at MCCCW she volunteered her time to support new technicians. Over the years she helped raise over 6,000 caterpillars and butterflies for release onto South Sound Prairies. She has created new and innovative husbandry practices, participated in butterfly research, and helped to train and mentor other inmate technicians along the way. Her dedication, passion, and commitment to the delicate and detailed work of raising butterflies, is a large part of the reason this new and unique program has proven successful. These early accomplishments ensured that SPP, DOC staff, future inmate technicians, and other SPP partners will have the opportunity to continue work to recover this federally listed species.

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Earlier this year Carolina wrote: “I just want to say that through these butterflies I have learned so much, and healed. It is amazing how God places all things in your life for a reason. This program has changed my life forever. I am so grateful for the knowledge, accomplishments and growth it has provided me. It is exciting to care for these beautiful creatures and giving back to the environment gives me a good feeling. ”

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Photo by Benj Drummond

In mid-July Carolina transferred from MCCCW into a Community Parenting Alternative (CPA) program. This unique and groundbreaking program allows an inmate to serve up to 12 of the last months of their sentence in Home Detention. The focuses of this 2010 legislation are on the child, family, and the importance of maintaining the family bond for inmates reentering the community. Due to the contributions Carolina made during her incarceration, she was granted this well-deserved opportunity to finish her sentence with her family.

This means that Carolina is no longer a butterfly technician at MCCCW. However, her contributions will stay with the program for years to come. She states that she would like to continue her involvement in the TCB rearing program as a volunteer or student after she is released. She intends to pursue an undergraduate degree at The Evergreen State College in the near future.

SPP would like to thank Carolina for all of her work with the butterflies and welcome her back into her community. We wish her the best of luck in all that she aspires to in the future.

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