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Nurture for Nature

Helping our butterflies helps our own mental health, says Dr Amir Khan
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Nurture for Nature

Wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation is today (13 April) launching its Nurture for Nature campaign, in partnership with Dobbies Garden Centres.

The goal is to encourage more people to look after themselves by looking after the natural world this spring.

The benefits of nature

Spending time in nature is hugely beneficial to our mental health. Just a short time spent in the natural world can alleviate stress and connecting with nature can help us feel happier and more energised.

Watching butterflies and moths in flight, for example, can be a wonderful and calming experience. Looking after the natural world will ensure that these benefits continue: it’s a clear win-win for everyone.

‘As we head into spring again, we must remember how our increased connectedness with nature during the warmer months of last year really helped us. Like a butterfly that exists as a tiny egg over winter, the promise of spring has been with us during the winter months, and now it’s back there’s plenty we can do to feel inspired by and part of the wildlife around us.’

Butterfly Conservation ambassador

Nature in lockdown

An increasing number of people have rediscovered nature during the lockdowns. University of Cumbria research, involving over 700 participants, shows that the spring lockdown of 2020 created an increased desire to spend more time outdoors where possible.

The number of respondents who reported spending more than one-and-a-half hours per day in nature increased from 27% before lockdown to 45% during the lockdown.

In addition, 67% of respondents reported actively speaking about nature to friends and family more often during lockdown, while 83% of respondents had specifically taken time to notice butterflies and/or bees.

Supporting butterflies and moths

In light of these figures, Butterfly Conservation is urging people to look after their own corners of the natural world to encourage nature to thrive and so continue to comfort and inspire us.

Nurture For Nature means building a natural world which supports butterflies and moths. As well as being important pollinators, butterflies and moths are vital to the complex ecosystems that support the birds who sing in our gardens and the mammals who populate our countryside.

76% of the UK’s butterfly species have declined in either abundance or occurrence (or both) over the last 40 years, while numbers of UK larger moths have declined by over 30% in the last 50 years.

Their continuing declines are very worrying for our wildlife as a whole, but there are things that we can do to help boost their numbers.

‘As spring finally arrives we can all do our little bit towards helping butterflies, wherever we live, in the knowledge that it’s helping our mental health too. Whether it’s caring for herb seedlings in a window box, planting wildflowers in your garden or learning afresh how to breathe and feel the gift of nature in our local green spaces.’

Director of engagement at Butterfly Conservation

Click here to access a free downloadable guide to wellbeing activities and green-fingered ideas from Butterfly Conservation.

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