People living in London are being encouraged to explore their local parks this half-term, on the look-out for some very special, hidden butterflies, courtesy of Butterfly Conservation.
To celebrate the launch of Big City Butterflies, a major new conservation project in London led by Butterfly Conservation, butterfly sculptures have been hidden around twelve of the city’s green spaces. Those finding and sharing their photos of the brightly coloured artwork will enter a prize draw. Plus, everyone can get involved all across the city with a free download pack full of facts and activities celebrating London’s butterflies.
The event marks the start of this ground-breaking National Lottery Heritage Fund supported project to improve and connect important butterfly and moth habitats across London. The capital is home to an impressive variety of butterflies and moths, with more than 25 of the UK’s 59 species of butterfly found in inner London. Green spaces including gardens, parks, commons, verges and cemeteries account for 47% of London, meaning it is possible for wildlife to thrive in the city alongside people.
The initiative aims to involve local communities in discovering and protecting these much-loved and vitally important insects.
Big City Butterflies will harness people power to enhance green spaces for butterflies and moths, from school playgrounds to community gardens and parks.
Julie Williams, CEO of Butterfly Conservation welcomed the start of the project:
“This is a really exciting moment for us. With thousands of Londoners taking action for butterflies and moths we can improve the prospects for these beautiful insects. Not only are they important as indicators of the health of our environment and essential as pollinators and food for other animals – spotting a butterfly is also one of life’s simple pleasures and one that should be enjoyed by everyone, everywhere”.
As part of the Big City Butterflies project, Londoners are being asked to also record their butterfly sightings by downloading a free app called iRecord Butterflies. This will enable the scientists at Butterfly Conservation to monitor the species in the capital.
Eleanor Johnstone, Engagement Officer for the project said:
“Our launch event encourages people to enjoy looking for butterflies in their local green spaces this half term. If your local park isn’t hiding one of our sculptures, you can spot real butterflies across the city and we’d love you to tell us what you see using the iRecord Butterflies app, which also helps you to identify what you have spotted”.
“The data will help us to understand more about how we can support butterflies and moths in urban environments.”
While the park sculpture ‘hide and seek’ will only run for half-term week, the Big City Butterflies project will be delivered over four years, and everybody living or working in London can get involved.
The Big City Butterflies project team will work with Borough ecologists, green space managers and rangers, volunteering groups and local communities. To find out more and to get involved. visit www.butterfly-conservation.org/BCB for more details on the project and to see the parks where sculptures are hidden.