Butterfly Conservation run popular and regular Butterfly Identification workshops. If you are thinking about attending one of these – do. The one I attended in Ninewells Community Garden was fabulous. An insight into the fascinating world of butterflies, great tips on identification, and to cap it all a setting that you couldn’t help but admire.
We met in late May on a glorious summer morning. Sarah Griffiths, extended a warm welcome in the one-acre garden which has been designed to provide visitors with an accessible, sheltered sanctuary. Garden features include herbaceous borders; vegetable, sensory and physic gardens; small orchard with wildflowers; picnic areas; wildlife habitats; polytunnel and children’s play areas. In short this was a venue with something good for both people and nature.
Introductions over, Anthony McCluskey of Butterfly Conservation took the reins and gave a couple of fascinating talks in the morning. These provided an insight into both the world of butterflies and their complex life cycle; through to a tailored talk that focussed on how best to identify the species were most likely to see.
The setting of the Community Garden in Ninewells was ideal. The talks stressed not only the world of butterflies but the value of enjoying nature for the very health and wellbeing benefits it delivers. A few quirky facts here and there gave a humorous angle to a really informative morning.
A quick lunch-break in the garden was followed by heading out with the sweeping net to see what we could find. The Green-veined white was certainly about, but paled a little beside the star of the afternoon – the small copper (see pic below). The small copper had taken up residence on a mound and after proving a little camera shy it eventually made a grand appearance in the middle of our group. There were plenty of bumblebees around too and of course the soothing sound of woodland birds was a constant backdrop.
It’s worth saying a little about the impressive Ninewells Community Garden. Volunteers help keep this in great fettle and given that it is close to both the hospital and the renowned Maggie’s Centre it is a much appreciated and a real ‘natural health service’ resource. The relaxing range of plants and shrubs have been planted in a way which allows ample space for fruit and vegetables – so it is a mix of pleasure and production almost.
The day wound down with a good session on the value of citizen science. Anthony asked if we could commit to three visits per year to a site (which could be your own garden) to help contribute to the recording that is so vital to monitoring the status of Scotland’ butterflies. The task isn’t onerous and boils down to simply noting the date, location and numbers of butterflies spotted – using the easy to follow i.d. guides that Butterfly Conservation have.
Finally Anthony explained the value of the Urban Butterfly project. Urban areas are increasingly havens for butterflies and Butterfly Conservation would love the help of anyone who can spare a little time to log what species living in our towns and cities. Valuable information of this nature will help improve conservation work no end.
So a huge thumbs up to Butterfly Conservation and Anthony McCluskey and the wonderful volunteers and team at Ninewells Community Garden. A green oasis in the midst of a potentially stressful environment is a shining example of how nature can benefit is us all.
FIND OUT MORE:
For more about Butterfly Conservation’s Urban Butterfly Project visit https://butterfly-conservation.org/10775/urban-butterfly-project.html
Find out more about Ninewells Community Garden @ http://www.ninewellsgarden.org.uk/index.html