Schools urged to help Milngavie and Bearsden’s butterflies

Environmental charity, Central Scotland Forest Trust (CSFT), is calling for support from primary schools in Milngavie and Bearsden following the launch of its Better Homes for Butterflies campaign.

To help conserve the range of butterflies found within the Central Scotland Forest area, CSFT, along with partners including Butterfly Conservation Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage, is encouraging local primary schools to apply for a Better Homes for Butterflies pack.

The pack comprises of a range of valuable educational resources including teaching aids such as identification guides and information sheets, activities to help protect the creatures and instructions and equipment for creating a small bog garden in the school grounds and a butterfly hibernation box.

Butterflies provide a range of eco-system benefits, including pollination and natural pest control, and the campaign is aimed at raising awareness of the importance of the colourful creatures in the environment.

In recent years there has been a decline in peatland butterfly populations in the Central Scotland Forest area, which experts partly attribute to a loss of habitat and a reduction in food availability.

Local butterflies especially at risk include the Large Heath, Green Hairstreak and Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary which are all dependent on the boggy habitats found in and around heath lands and peat bogs, having very specific requirements on the plants their caterpillars feed on.

Emilie Wadsworth, Heritage Officer at Central Scotland Forest Trust, said: “Following the recent success of our ‘Tree Sparrow Rescue’ campaign, we wanted to protect another popular species in the area which is currently facing decline.

“Our Better Homes for Butterflies packs are a fun and interactive way to educate pupils about the environment and we hope that local primary schools in East Dunbartonshire will join forces with us to help protect these beautiful flying insects.”

Karen Morrison, Communities Officer at Scottish Natural Heritage, said: “In the Year of Natural Scotland 2013, this campaign is a great opportunity to find out more about the endangered butterflies that live in the boggy areas of central Scotland and what we can do to help them.”

Paul Kirkland, Director of Butterfly Conservation Scotland, said: “Butterfly Conservation Scotland is very pleased to support this exciting initiative to promote and protect our peatland butterflies.

“As well as peatland specialists, such as the Large Heath, peatlands also provide homes for other wetland and moorland species that are otherwise rare in the central belt, such as the Green Hairstreak and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary.”

For further information about the Better Homes for Butterflies campaign and to apply for a pack, please visit http://www.csft.org.uk/out-a-about/better-homes-for-butterflies or email emilie.wadsworth@csft.org.uk