Big City Butterflies

New initiative encourages Londoners to spot some special butterflies this half-term

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 3 June 2021

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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People living in London are being encouraged to explore their local parks this half-term, on the lookout for some very special butterflies, hidden by 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 12 of the city’s green spaces.

Those who find and share their photos of the brightly coloured artwork will be entered into a prize draw.

Everyone can get involved all across the city with a free download pack full of facts and activities celebrating London’s butterflies. 

London butterflies

The event marks the start of this ground-breaking project, supported by National Lottery Heritage Fund, to improve and connect important butterfly and moth habitats across London.

The capital is home to an impressive variety of butterflies and moths; 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 alongside people.

The aim of the initiative is to help local communities to discover and protect 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.

‘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.’

JULIE WILLIAMS
CEO of Butterfly Conservation

Help monitor butterfly species

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.

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.

‘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.’

ELEANOR JOHNSTONE
Engagement Officer for Big City Butterflies

The Big City Butterflies project team will work with Borough ecologists, green space managers and rangers, volunteering groups and local communities.

Click here to find out more about the project and to see the parks where butterfly sculptures are hidden.

The 25 species of butterfly that can be found in London are:

  • Small skipper
  • Essex skipper
  • Large skipper
  • Brimstone
  • Orange tip
  • Holly blue
  • Red admiral
  • Painted lady
  • Comma
  • Small tortoiseshell
  • Peacock
  • Speckled wood
  • Gatekeeper
  • Meadow brown
  • Small heath
  • Brown argus
  • White-letter hairstreak
  • Purple hairstreak
  • Marbled white
  • Ringlet

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