People urged to protect butterflies this spring – and boost their mental health

A butterfly on a flower

People are being urged to take steps to help butterflies and moths this spring as part of a project which experts said could boost the mental health of those who take part.

Boost

The campaign by charity Butterfly Conservation to prevent further declines in species of butterflies and moths comes after research found last year’s lockdown saw an increase in the amount of people spending time in nature. The University of Cumbria study revealed 83% of respondents said they had taken time to notice butterflies and bees.

A short amount of time spent in nature can alleviate stress and make people feel happier and more energised, according to Butterfly Conservation.

Dr Amir Khan, who is backing the Butterfly Conservation campaign
Dr Amir Khan is backing the Butterfly Conservation campaign (Butterfly Conservation/PA)

Dr Amir Khan, Butterfly Conservation ambassador, said:

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.

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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.

Back to nature

The Nature for Nuture project in partnership with Dobbies Garden Centres aims to provide householders with tools and information that can help boost numbers of pollinators.

Dr Kate Dent, director of engagement at Butterfly Conservation, said:

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.

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Small pearl-bordered fritillary (Andrew Cooper/Butterfly Conservation/PA)

Decline

Butterfly Conservation warned that 76% of the UK’s butterfly species have declined over the 40 years while numbers of UK larger moths have declined by more than 30% in the last 50 years.

The charity says the continuing decline of butterflies and moths is worrying for wildlife as a whole.

As well as being important pollinators, the insects are part of ecosystems which support birds and mammals.

Those interested can find more information at Nurture for Nature.

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