Could you meet a Lady, glimpse an Admiral or even spot a Peacock? Wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation invites us all to take part in this year's Big Butterfly Count
It’s more important than ever that people take part in the Big Butterfly Count, organised by charity Butterfly Conservation. The record temperatures, heatwave and drought in 2022 caused some of the plants that caterpillars feed on to wither and die, which can have a dramatic impact on the butterfly population.
Previous extreme summers in 1976 and 1995 took a heavy toll, with butterfly numbers crashing the following year and taking almost a decade to recover. The information gathered by counting helps to inform conservation projects, government policies and supports other experts with their research and vital work to protect our planet.
“Butterflies are key indicators of environmental health, and with half of Britain’s butterfly species already threatened or near threatened with extinction, we need to take action now to protect them.”
Dr Zoe Randle – Senior Surveys Officer, Butterfly Conservation.
How and where to spot butterflies
Whether done as a church community, with friends and family, or in a moment of quiet calm and solitude, the Big Butterfly Count is free, fun and takes just 15 minutes in a sunny spot. It is open to anyone, of any age, in any part of the UK - towns, cities or the countryside. No green space is too small - a back garden, a small terrace, balcony or church entrance space with some pot plants, or even a country lane are all important spaces to explore, track and report.
This year’s Big Butterfly Count is already underway, running from Friday 14 July - Sunday 6 August. You can use their app to record your count, and their A-Z of butterflies will help you identify species.
Supporting biodiversity across our churchyards
The Diocese of Oxford is part of Wilder Churches, a collaboration with the Bucks, Berks and Oxon Wildlife Trust to support biodiversity in our churchyards. You can find lots of resources on our dedicated land and nature website page, or via our Eco Hub. If you want to help make space for butterflies and other wildlife in your churchyard, download this poster which explains why the grass is being left to grow.