To Our Readers

Are butterflies thrilling? They are certainly beautiful and wonderful creatures. But thrilling? I guess it all depends on your perspective. I suppose that if a butterfly played an important part in transforming your life, it would be thrilling.

And that's exactly what happened to a man in Los Angeles who had been a street-wise tough guy. At seventeen, he found himself in jail, serving four years for assault. Yet the profile of this man in the "American Heroes" column of National Wildlife magazine begins simply: "Butterflies taught Arthur Bonner how to be free" (October/November 1977, p. 16).

What happened was this. After Bonner was released from jail, he took a job with the Los Angeles Conservation Corps. It didn't pay much, but while working in the coastal dunes near L.A. he became interested in a rare, endangered species of butterfly that inhabited the dunes. He worked hard and learned all he could. Today, Arthur Bonner is in charge of a program that rears butterflies and restores the natural habitat of the coastal dunes. Bonner comments that he now feels he's discovering "what life really means." He adds, "I'm saving butterflies from extinction, and they're saving me from the streets."

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June 22, 1998

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