While at a scientific research camp on Mount Rainier, Michael "Mike" Miller, 14, caught a species of butterfly never previously documented there. The discovery of the rust-brown, pumpkin-orange and creamy white euphydryas anicia, commonly known as anicia checkerspot, will be included in published findings, according to his mother, Gina Miller. Mike, his father, John Batalis, and Gina reside at the family home outside Milton-Freewater.
The two-week program is offered through Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland. Mike, a McLoughlin High School freshman, and six other teenagers camped, hiked and were research assistants for National Park Service wildlife biologists. They conducted a study of the alpine layer around the mountain and the effects of changing climates.
A significant part of the study was catching and identifying butterflies in that region and comparing those numbers to populations from past years. "He had a fascinating adventure and brought back plenty of beautiful pictures to share," Gina said. With his interest in wildlife biology as a career, he was chosen to go on this particular research team. The camp was the perfect way for him to experience that career close up and hands on, Gina said. He hopes to return to the camp next summer and participate in the counselor-in-training program.
Mike is willing to speak to any groups that want to hear his story. In fact, he is going to present a slide show to the Women's Improvement Club of Milton-Freewater in September.
For more information about scheduling Mike's presentation, contact his grandmother, Michelle Miller, at 938-4237.
Recent Valparaiso (Ind.) University graduate Marcus Lohrmann of Walla Walla won an award in the university's annual Wordfest writing contest.
Marcus earned a philosophy degree in May and was awarded third place in the contest's creative non-fiction category. He is the son of John and Linda Lohrmann of Walla Walla.
Valparaiso is a comprehensive university with a Lutheran heritage, 55 miles southeast of Chicago.