Spotting butterflies at Shocott

Last weekend, our Community Engagement Officer Jo worked with Shortstown and Cotton End residents to put on a litter pick/guided walk at our woodland over at Shocott Spring, as there’d been local concern that the site was getting messy. Thankfully there wasn’t much litter to collect – always a good sign! But they did see a lot of butterflies feeding on the wildflowers that we’ve planted along the grass rides – excellent news after the Amateur Entomology Society (in Germany) have just announced some staggeringly depressing figures about declines in insect populations.

Image of insect next to text saying

They’ve been studying the numbers for decades and calculated that the total biomass of flying insects has fallen by 76%, and it’s getting worse every year. Because insects aren’t cute and fluffy they generally get over looked in global campaigns for endangered species but 40% are already threatened with extinction and that number grows by 1% every year. This is, to quote, ‘the most massive extinction episode since the dinosaurs disappeared’.  

Even if you hate creepy crawlies you have to look at the bigger picture – they’re a vital link in the food chain and without them we will start to lose birds at the same rate, sooner rather than later. The group are worried we are reaching the point of no return – a worryingly common phrase these days. Let’s hope that our butterflies at Shocott are an indication of habitat creation taking things in the right direction.

We have planted 12 woodland sites (soon to be 13) creating habitats for wildlife of all shapes and sizes - not just the cute and fluffy species. An easy way to protect insects in the Forest area is to Sponsor an Area of Habitat in the Millennium Country Park for £10 - choose from woodlands, lakes and ponds, grassland, hedgerow or reedbeds and receive a certificate and a pack with more info about the species you'll be helping.