The Big Butterfly Count – A Citizen Science Project Empowering People to Protect Biodiversity

The Big Butterfly Count is back – and bigger than ever. In its 12th year, the annual event in the UK invites people to take part in counting the country’s butterfly population for 15 minutes over a three-week period from July 16 to August 8. A citizen science project, the Big Butterfly Count helps bring attention to butterfly conservation and encourages people to take action to protect biodiversity.

Butterfly Counting, A National Pastime

According to Butterfly Conservation, since its inception in 2010, the Big Butterfly Count has grown to become the largest survey of its kind in the world, with over 145,000 people taking part in 2020 alone. They recorded over 100,000 sightings, demonstrating how the project has the potential to make a big difference to butterfly conservation efforts.

The project offers free resources, such as printable identification charts and regional butterfly guides, to help amateur butterfly counters get up to speed. Participants are then encouraged to log their sightings into the dedicated smartphone app or the Big Butterfly Count website.

Empowering Communities to Take Action

But the project is more than just a fun way to spend a summer afternoon. The data collected from these counts gives researchers and conservationists valuable insight into the health of the country’s butterfly population. From this data, they can identify trends, pinpoint areas where conservation efforts are needed most, and even inform policy-making.

The Big Butterfly Count empowers communities to play a central role in protecting biodiversity, highlighting how ordinary people can take simple steps to support wildlife conservation. The project encourages participants to create butterfly-friendly habitats by planting native wildflowers in their gardens, balconies, or even on local council lands. Small actions like these can help improve butterfly habitats and help boost butterfly numbers.

Butterfly Conservation, More Important Than Ever

Butterflies, along with other insects, are part of the foundation of the ecosystem on which we rely. They play a crucial role in pollination, plant fertilisation and are a crucial food source for other animals such as birds and mammals. Despite their importance, butterfly populations have been decreasing at an alarming rate, with some species facing extinction. The Big Butterfly Count plays a vital role in protecting native butterfly populations, and other insects, which contribute to the balance of the environment.

The Big Butterfly Count, a Traditional Way to Connect with Nature

The Big Butterfly Count is an exciting way to connect with nature, learn more about biodiversity conservation, and contribute to a scientific project. It is a perfect activity for people of all ages and experiences, and provides an excellent opportunity to engage children in learning about insects and wildlife. By taking part in the Big Butterfly Count, participants can contribute to the protection of our natural world for future generations.

For more information, visit the Big Butterfly Count website and start your own butterfly counting!

By Jane Smith, Contributing Writer