The Albany Pine Bush Preserve has so many things to do for families. We have done nature walks along the trails and identified species of animals and plants while following on the iNaturalist app.

Now, they have an educational and fun StoryWalk. We walked along the Karner Barrens blue trail behind the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center (195 New Karner Road in Albany) and followed the story of Mister Karner Blue. There are laminated displays of the pages of the book that are fun to read and learn all about the beautiful Karner blue butterfly. It was fun to walk the trail and read the story, which was a collaboration among Farnsworth Middle School student Natasha Permaul, her fellow students, teachers, adult volunteers and the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission staff.

Albany Pine Bush Preserve

It’s also nice to know that our communities' preservation efforts have made the Karner blue, listed as a federally endangered species in 1992, have a resurgence in our area. They're about the size of a quarter and often stay within a 700-foot area for their whole life, so habitat destruction played a huge role in their demise decades ago. Karner blue caterpillars rely on wild lupine, which favors oak savannas and pine barrens.

"Driven by science, the Commission’s programs of controlled burning, forest thinning, restoration seeding and environmental education have helped the Karner population remain above 7,000 for the last seven years," according to an Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission article. "While the current population size cannot be calculated until the season has ended, staff report counting hundreds of butterflies on their surveys at sites throughout the preserve."

The StoryWalk presents all this information in a fun, child-friendly way, and as you walk along the trail, you may just catch a glimpse of the beautiful Karner blue butterfly or some of the hundreds of other creatures that call this place home. Click here to learn more about the StoryWalk.