Seen a Butterfly? LET US KNOW
PUBLISHED: 15:28 12 April 2011 | UPDATED: 22:01 21 February 2013
This summer the charity Butterfly Conservation is hoping to encourage as many people as possible to take part in what it hopes will be the world's largest-ever butterfly count.
This summer the charity Butterfly Conservation is hoping to encourage as many people as possible to take part in what it hopes will be the worlds largest-ever butterfly count.
The Big Butterfly Count takes place during 16-31 July and is being supported by Marks & Spencer.
Members of the public will be asked to note the butterflies they see in their garden or in a similar place, such as a park or countryside walk, over a 15 minute sunny period. Schools will also be taking part in the count in their grounds and wildlife areas. Everyone will be able to log their sightings online (www.bigbutterflycount.org), helping scientists to get a fuller picture of exactly whats happening to the UKs butterfly population.
Most butterflies have been in decline for decades but in recent years, numbers have dropped very sharply. Data collected by Butterfly Conservation volunteers show several once common species have declined dramatically over the last decade. Numbers of Small Tortoiseshell have decreased by 68 per cent and the Peacock by almost 30 per cent during the 2000s.
The Big Butterfly Count will be launched officially in July by Sir David Attenborough, who is President of Butterfly Conservation.
He says he is very aware that there are far fewer butterflies in his own garden these days.
He adds: Butterfly numbers are falling. Butterfly Conservation scientists have demonstrated that these declines can be reversed. If you change the environment to help butterflies, all sorts of other wildlife benefits too. Nature comes back to life.
Earlier this year Butterfly Conservation and Marks & Spencer organised a national Planting for Butterflies campaign to persuade people across the UK to introduce butterfly-friendly plants to their gardens ahead of the Big Butterfly Count.
For example, Mike Dilger, wildlife reporter from the BBC Televisions The One Show, helped school students to create a butterfly garden in Bristol.
Mike said: Butterflies are beautiful and intrinsically valuable. They bring a garden alive. Sadly, theres been a drop in numbers over the last 50 years. Gardens provide an opportunity to help some butterfly species thrive again.
It is hoped that tens of thousands of people right across the country will take part in this years Big Butterfly Count.
It will build on the success of co-operation between Butterfly Conservation and M&S in 2010, the first year of their partnership which is part of the retailers eco-plan, Plan A, to be the worlds most sustainable retailer by 2015.
Richard Gillies, M&S Director of Plan A, commented: We are really excited to be partnering with Butterfly Conservation on the campaign for the second year running, and we hope the count will attract even more participants that last year and be a major way of helping to reverse the long-term decline of butterflies and moths, as well as enhancing the habitats for wildlife and improving the environment for us all. We want to lead the way in making a positive contribution to the environment and society across everything we do and everything we sell.