Monday, April 15, 2013

Creative Collaborations: How CNHP and Odell Brewing Company are working together to save the hops blue butterfly


by Rob Schorr, CNHP Zoologist

While conducting a biological inventory at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Jeremy Siemers and I were lucky enough to stumble upon a few hops blue butterfly (Celastrina humulus; a G2/G3 invertebrate) populations.  This butterfly is found in a handful of counties in Colorado and gets its name from its host plant, wild hops (Humulus lupulus).  We started a lively discussion about how best to monitor such a butterfly, or even how to assess the prevalence of the butterfly on its host plant.  We tossed ideas around, beat up some study designs, and finally came up with a research plan we thought was feasible.  Unfortunately, it was unfunded.  These discussions led to hops-and-barley fueled brainstorming on how to fund such a study…the natural connection was right in our hands.

Female hops blue butterfly on wild hops
After some courting and scheduling, I was able to visit Fort Collins' own Odell Brewing Company and talk with them about CNHP, the hops blue butterfly, and a creative collaboration of beer and butterfly conservation.  The talk was warmly received and Odell eagerly agreed to develop a beer to commemorate this minute Colorado endemic.  This novel partnership has led to the recent announcement that Odell Brewing Company will be releasing Celastrina Saison in a Belgian farmhouse 750-ml bottle in late May 2013.  The label boldly shows a male hops blue butterfly and along the edge of the label is a description of how $1 of each 750 ml bottle will go toward CNHP for hops blue butterfly research. This partnership between Odell Brewing Company and CNHP developed out of a shared interest in conserving species and landscapes that are uniquely Colorado.

Rob holding a Celastrina Saison
Please look for Celastrina Saison on the shelves of your favorite liquor store, at your favorite pub, or at the Odell Brewing Company tap room…and raise a pint for butterfly conservation!

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