I’ve got a simple rule in my daily life. When Sir David Attenborough tells me to do something I do it! You may have seen the great man on various media channels over the last few weeks promoting something called the Big Butterfly Count, a national scheme to try and record the numbers of butterflies that are living alongside us.

Butterflies are indicator species, this means that studying their health tells us a lot about the underlying environment in which they exist.  Butterflies have short life cycles and react quickly to environmental changes, monitoring their numbers lets us know how their food-plants are getting on and gives us important clues as to how other creatures like birds and mammals will react over the longer term.

Butterflies are also really easy to monitor, they’re easy to spot fluttering about our parks and gardens and they have distinctive colours and patterns that make them easy for anyone to recognise.

Butterfly Conservation, the charity who organise the Big Butterfly Count would like everyone to spend just 15 minutes, before the 12th of August, sitting in their favourite natural place identifying and counting all the butterflies you see.  The best time to do this is when it is warm, sunny, and still – so it’s not a bad way to make a contribution to science!

Citizen science schemes like these are fun, but by taking part you are making a real contribution to our knowledge of both butterflies and the environment.  Our Wild Ways Well groups, who spend time in the outdoors to experience the health benefits of nature, will be taking part over the next few days.

You can find more information about the Big Butterfly Count, Wild Ways Well and how Cumbernauld Living Landscape will be taking part on our Facebook page.


Paul Barclay, Community Networks Officer

Paul Barclay