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Meet a Young Conservationist

Student Blake Wichtowski from New York spoke at the 2002 Kids' Summit. The Kids' Summit is a gathering of young conservationists. A conservationist is a person who helps save wildlife and other natural resources. Blake told people that planting wild blue lupine flowers would help keep a special butterfly from dying out. Blue lupine flowers are the only food that this butterfly's caterpillars will eat. Unfortunately, people have built homes and other buildings on much of the land where the blue lupine flowers grew.

Blake said it is important to keep plants, insects, and other animals from dying out because “every part of life has its place in the ecosystem.” An ecosystem is a community made up of plants and animals and their environment. Even though people may have no way to use insects such as the Karner blue butterfly, insects are important in keeping the ecosystem balanced. Butterflies pollinate plants, and they serve as food for other animals, such as birds and spiders.

Taking Action

Officials from New York helped turn this young conservationist's idea into a reality. The officials, from the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, New York, helped Blake's class plant seeds for a blue lupine garden near the local airport.

When he grows up, Blake plans to be either a doctor who takes care of animals or a scientist who studies insects. Either way, he's off to a good start!