[Y]oungsters from two Cumbrian schools have been doing their bit to help Britain’s rapidly declining butterfly populations, thanks to a project being spearheaded by The Lake District Wildlife Park near Keswick.
Inspired by the recent National Insect Week, staff from the popular attraction have visited both Gosforth C of E Primary School in Seascale and Wigton Infant School to create new butterfly habitats with the children.
More than three-quarters of Britain’s butterfly species have declined over the four decades. Four species of butterfly and 60 species of moth have also become extinct in the last 150 years, mainly due to habitat destruction, intensive farming and pollution/changing climate.
A small team from the Lake District Wildlife Park worked with pupils from Gosforth and Wigton to plant seeds, as well as a range of established insect-friendly plants including marigold, lavender, buddliea and honeysuckle. The gardens were created in the school grounds and pupils took part in a real hands-on approach to learning more about butterfly conservation.
It’s all part of the Wildlife Park’s ongoing education and community outreach programme and follows the spectacular release of more than 100 Painted Lady butterflies with local schoolchildren from across Cumbria last summer.
Education and Marketing Co-ordinator at the Lake District Wildlife Park, Lucy Dunn, said: “The children from both schools had a lot of fun creating their own butterfly gardens and learning more about the fascinating life-cycles of some iconic butterfly and moth species. Working together with the next generation is so important to nurturing Cumbria’s natural landscape and we see this as a fundamental part of the work we do to shape a better future for all our living creatures.”
Headteacher at Gosforth C of E Primary School, Lindsey Martin, commented: “I thought it was really good that the children designed the layout of the plants in the garden themselves. We all agreed it was a great day and the children got a lot out of it. We are looking forward to seeing the butterfly garden grow and flourish, and the children now busy planning other activities inspired by butterflies for the infant classes.”
Meanwhile, teacher Debbie Taylor at Wigton Infant School, added: “We are always keen for our children to understand their place in nature. This project has helped them to realise that however little they are, they can still give nature a helping hand.”