How aware are we of the difficulty we'd be in without all the vital insects, including butterflies, acting as pollinators for our plants? Pollinators are the busy creatures vital to ensure vegetable and fruit plants are fertilised, so able to produce fruit and seeds, not only for humans but for all other species reliant on plants. So how can we play our part in supporting bees (honey-bees, bumble bees, wild bees), hoverflies, butterflies, wasps and all our other six-legged friends to ensure that our crops, orchards, forests and gardens all flourish?
As part of Defra's national Pollinators' Week July 11-19, events are taking place all over Devon to address this question.
On Dartmoor, the recently launched Dartmoor Conservation Garden in Princetown is hosting a free talk and workshop on butterfly conservation on dartmoor today between noon and 3pm. This will take place inside the Duchy Old Hotel located beside the National Park Visitor Centre.
There is no need to book, just turn up.
Jenny Plackett, the project officer who delivers the Two Moors Threatened Butterfly Project for the UK charity Butterfly Conservation, will give a talk between noon and 1pm with slides on Dartmoor's Threatened Butterflies & Practical Conservation. She'll talk about the work being done on a landscape scale across Dartmoor (and Exmoor), which aims to reverse the declines in three important UK threatened butterfly species: the Marsh Fritillary, High Brown Fritillary and Heath Fritillary. She works with farmers and landowners helping them restore and reconnect areas of suitable habitat, providing them with help and advice in habitat management, with sourcing funding and organising practical works.
Between 2pm and 3pm, Simon Phelps, of All the Moor Butterflies will run a practical butterfly identification workshop for everyone, with guidance on how to identify our local Dartmoor butterflies, both common and rarer species. Information will be provided on how to take part in the national Big Butterfly Count.
The Two Moors Threatened Butterfly Project is a partnership project involving DNPA, Natural England, the Environment Agency, Butterfly Conservation and Exmoor National Park Authority.
The Dartmoor Conservation Garden is a display garden wild-planted with a range of Dartmoor's native plants in typical habitats, sited behind the National Park Visitor Centre at Princetown. It is free to the public, a peaceful place to visit, as well as offering an outdoor classroom for local schools, supported by the Dartmoor National Park's Your Dartmoor Fund and the Dartmoor Preservation Association.