Sponsored: Saving Minnesota’s pollinators one pint at a time

By the Minnesota Zoo
Dakota Skipper

The Dakota Skipper is among the endangered prairie butterflies that the Minnesota Zoo’s Prairie Butterfly Conservation Program is out to protect // Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Zoo

Editor’s note: This content was sponsored by the Minnesota Zoo.

Minnesota’s prairie butterflies and other pollinators are vanishing along with most of their habitat. The Dakota skipper, a small beautiful prairie butterfly, is on the verge of extinction due to habitat loss. Today, only about 1% of historic tallgrass prairie remains, and what is left is fragmented into small separated islands. Even at protected prairie sites, Dakota skipper numbers have been falling. And the reasons for its decline in protected sites is still not clear.


A portion of the sales of Dakota Skipper Endangered Reserve benefit the Minnesota Zoo’s Prairie Butterfly Conservation Program // Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Zoo

The Minnesota Zoo’s Prairie Butterfly Conservation Program, the only program of its kind in the world, works with conservation partners to save Minnesota’s endangered prairie butterflies, studying reasons for their decline in the wild and breeding them at the Zoo for reintroduction to Minnesota prairies.

This summer, the Minnesota Zoo is partnering with Fair State Brewing Cooperative, recently lauded as one of the top new breweries in the world at the RateBeer Best Awards, to re-release a limited-edition brew to help save endangered butterflies like the Dakota skipper.  The Dakota Skipper Endangered Reserve is a dry farmhouse-style beer brewed with native Minnesota prairie grasses—perfect for a sunny, summer afternoon. When you order a Dakota Skipper Endangered Reserve at Fair State Brewing Cooperative, $1 goes to support the Minnesota Zoo’s efforts to save pollinators through the Prairie Butterfly Conservation Program.

This brew is as rare as the butterfly it’s named for and available for a limited time—from July 15 to August 19, or until the beer runs dry. To celebrate the tapping of the first kegs, AZUL, Minnesota Zoo Young Advocates, hosted a Butterfly Brew Tapping Party on Friday, July 15 where over 150 guests got a first taste of this endangered brew. You can try the Dakota Skipper Endangered Reserve at partner restaurants including Fair State Brewing Cooperative, Como Dockside, Marin, The Mason Jar, Mill Valley Kitchen, Ox Cart Ale House, and Smack Shack.

To learn more about the Dakota Skipper Endangered Reserve and where you can find it, visit www.mnzoo.org/butterflybrew or email us at [email protected]. And share your own photos on social media with @AZULMNZOO, @mnzoo, and #butterflybrew.

The Dakota Skipper Endangered Reserve will also be available at the 8th annual Brew at the Zoo on Friday, August 5th on the Central Plaza at the Minnesota Zoo. You can also support this important work with a donation to the Prairie Butterfly Conservation Program. Click here to learn more.

mnzoo_facebookCreated by the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Zoo opened in 1978 with a mission to connect people, animals, and the natural world to save wildlife. Cutting-edge exhibits provide exciting experiences with animals and their habitats introducing guests to species from around the globe. Education programs engage audiences at the Zoo, throughout the region, and around world. Conservation programs protect endangered species and preserve critical ecosystems. 


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