The butterfly effect: Indiana Dunes to use Notre Dame climate change adaptation video in educational programming

Author: Brandi Klingerman

The butterfly effect: Indiana Dunes to use Notre Dame climate change adaptation video in educational programming

The National Parks Service at the Indiana Dunes will utilize a video on Jessica Hellmann’s research on the Karner blue butterfly, an endangered species, in their educational programming. In the video, Hellmann, professor of ecology at the University of Minnesota and past fellow of the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study (NDIAS), discusses the research she undertook on climate change adaptation for the butterfly species at the Indiana Dunes while at the NDIAS.


Due to the complex environment in which the Karner blue butterfly has had to survive, Hellmann and her research team at Notre Dame had to consider questions concerning the conservation of the species and climate change adaptation. Unfortunately, the Karner blue is believed to have gone extinct at the Indiana Dunes, making it the first federally endangered species to suffer this fate in a national park due to climate change.


In discussing the value of the video, Kim Swift, chief of environmental education at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, said, “The video is excellent, and as an educator for the National Park Service at the Indiana Dunes it is important to inform others how something so small, like a butterfly, can impact the environment. Our goal is to share this video with educators and the general public during various programs and workshops and bring more awareness of climate change and climate adaptation.”


In the video, Hellmann, who is the current director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, discusses why she studies the Karner blue butterfly in collaboration with Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore scientists. She emphasizes the insight this species can give researchers on larger environmental questions, including those surrounding biodiversity.


“Jessica Hellmann demonstrated what an environmental scientist can accomplish at the NDIAS, as boundaries for our Fellows are not restricted to the Notre Dame campus,” said Brad Gregory, director of NDIAS, professor of history, and Dorothy G. Griffin Collegiate Chair in European History. “I am pleased that the National Parks Service at the Indiana Dunes has recognized the value of her research at the NDIAS and will be using this video in their educational endeavors.”


To watch the video and learn more about Hellmann’s research while at NDIAS, please visit





Donald Stelluto / Associate Director


Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study / University of Notre Dame / 574.631.7873 / @NotreDameIAS


About Notre Dame Research:


The University of Notre Dame is a private research and teaching university inspired by its Catholic mission. Located in South Bend, Indiana, its researchers are advancing human understanding through research, scholarship, education, and creative endeavor in order to be a repository for knowledge and a powerful means for doing good in the world. For more information, please see or @UNDResearch.

Originally published by Brandi Klingerman at on February 14, 2019.