Teignbridge residents are being urged to get outside and take part in this summer’s Big Butterfly Count.
Teignbridge District Council is backing Sir David Attenborough as he warns that butterfly numbers are at a historic low across the UK and calls for nature lovers everywhere to take part in the Big Butterfly Count which runs to until August 11, 2013.
The count will show whether butterflies are recovering from the difficulties over the past year and will also indicate how they are faring in different areas – our back gardens, parks, fields, towns and cities.
Following the coldest spring for 50 years, coupled with their long-term decline in abundance and population, UK butterflies have been struggling to survive in our gardens and the wider countryside.
There are reserves all over Teignbridge, including the internationally renowned Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve and a team of Green Spaces Countryside Rangers play an instrumental part in this work.
They are the perfect places to spot the winged beauties and with the sun still high in the sky, there is no better time to explore the area.
As part of its wider summer holidays activities programme, Teignbridge’s Green Spaces team are putting on a range of events focusing on butterflies and moths.
On Friday, July 26, Eastcliff Park, Teignmouth, will host a ‘Bat and Moth Picnic’ from 8pm – 10.30pm. People can take along a picnic and enjoy watching and listening to bats and moths with the highly experienced rangers. It costs £4 for adults and children go free.
On Wednesday, August 7, Dawlish Warren will host a ‘Family Butterfly Run’ from 2pm – 3.30pm. People can enter the fascinating world of butterflies and moths by looking out for some in the reserve and making a model to take home. It costs £3.50 for children with adults paying nothing.
On August 9 National Moth Night will be marked with an event at Decoy Country Park, Newton Abbot. Rangers working with Devon Moth Group and Devon Butterfly Conservation so people can learn more about moths and how they live.
The Warren will also host the ‘Butterflies at the Warren’ event on Wednesday 14 August from 1.30pm – 3.30pm. At this time of year 10 species can be found (weather permitting). People can take a walk with the Rangers and look out for them. It costs £4 for adults and is free for children.
Last year the public counted more than 220,000 butterflies with 15 of the 21 species declining compared to 2011’s Count.
The Big Butterfly Count consists of a simple survey in which people count how many of each different type of butterfly seen during a 15 minute period. Participants can carry out as many counts as they wish. All counts are important and should be submitted, even if no butterflies are seen.
Anyone can take part. All you need is access to a sunny open space, where you might see butterflies, either near your home or on holiday. Big Butterfly Count is a great family activity to engage children or grandchildren with the natural world. Sightings can be submitted online via www.bigbutterflycount.org
There’s also a smartphone app available through the appropriate app stores – just search for ‘butterfly count’.
To find out more about the events offered by Teignbridge’s Green Spaces team visit www.teignbridge.gov.uk/greenspacesevents, email@example.com or call 01626 215751.