This afternoon, I spotted a speckled wood butterfly on my hostas - a first for our garden. As I watched it sunning itself, I was reminded of the power the natural world has to bring joy into our gardens and our lives.
But the UK’s butterflies are in trouble. The State of the UK’s Butterflies 2015 Report shows that there have been 70% declines in occurrence and 57% declines in abundance since 1976. This rapid decline is mostly down to the destruction and degradation of habitat. If we want to continue seeing butterflies in our gardens in the future, we need to find a solution to habitat destruction and support the recovery of butterfly populations.
So How Can We Help?
With over 400,000 hectares of garden habitat across the UK, we can provide pollinating insects with a range of flower shapes and sizes, avoid double flowers and ensure a supply of nectar and pollen-rich plants throughout the year. We can also help with citizen science projects like the annual Big Butterfly Count.
Big Butterfly Count
Now in its tenth year, The Big Butterfly Count is the world’s biggest survey of butterflies and is run by Butterfly Conservation. In 2018 over 100,000 people took part: submitting 97,133 counts of butterflies and day-flying moths from across the UK.
This year, the project runs from 19th July to 11 August and is the perfect opportunity to contribute to scientific knowledge and to enjoy spotting butterflies with friends and family.
A perfect opportunity to get out and spot some butterflies with the family.
How to Take Part
To take part, all you need to do is spend fifteen minutes in a park, garden, wood or any other habitat and use the Big Butterfly Count resources to identify and count the butterflies and moths that you see. Results are used to work out how best to protect butterflies from extinction and to help scientists and conservationists understand how climate change affects wildlife. Best of all, you can do more than one count, and each survey adds essential data to the overall picture.
My son is hoping to see a light emerald moth and my daughter would love to find a silver-spotted skipper! Whatever your favourite butterflies and moths, the Big Butterfly Count needs you!