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Department of Defense invests in endangered species

The Department of Defense recently spent $30,000 to construct a greenhouse for an endangered butterfly species that has taken up residence at U.S. military base Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, reports.

The number of Taylor's checkerspot butterflies has declined because of habitat loss, but they formed a large colony at the base's firing range, where they do artillery training. In collaboration with the sustainable prisons program at The Evergreen State College in Olympia and Mission Creek Corrections Center, inmates will be trained to raise the butterfly, which is listed as endangered in Washington.

If its numbers fall much further, the checkerspot butterfly will make the federal endangered species list, which would mean that the land on which it lives must be solely dedicated to the species' survival. That would mean the Department of Defense would have to give up its artillery training grounds, The Kitsap Sun reports.

"We like to think of it as a win-win, win-win-win," Kelli Bush, manager of the sustainable prisons project, told the news source. It will benefit the environment, the inmates and the military, she said. 
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