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Small pearl bordered fritillary

Alleviate stress by helping butterflies, says charity

HELPING our butterflies helps our own mental health, says Dr Amir Khan, as research shows 83% of people surveyed took time to notice pollinators during last spring’s lockdown.

Wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation has just launched its Nurture for Nature campaign, in partnership with Dobbies Garden Centres, in a bid to encourage more people to look after themselves by looking after the natural world this spring.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “Spending time in nature is hugely beneficial to our mental health. Just a short amount of time spent in the natural world can alleviate stress and connecting with nature can help us feel happier and more energised.

“Spending time watching butterflies and moths in flight, for example, can be a wonderful and calming experience. Looking after the natural world will ensure that such benefits continue. This is truly a win-win situation for all of us.”

Dr Amir Khan, Butterfly Conservation Ambassador, urged people to join in with the campaign: “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.

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.”

An increasing number of people have rediscovered nature during the lockdowns. Research undertaken at the University of Cumbria, involving over 700 participants last year, shows that the spring lockdown of 2020 created an increased desire to spend more time outdoors where possible.

The number of respondents who reported spending more than one-and-a-half hours per day in nature rose from 27% before lockdown to 45% during the lockdown.

In addition, 67% of respondents reported actively speaking about nature to friends and family more often during lockdown, while 83% of respondents had specifically taken time to notice butterflies and/or bees.

In light of this data Butterfly Conservation is urging people to look after their own corners of the natural world to encourage nature to thrive and so continue to comfort and inspire us.

Nurture For Nature means building a natural world which supports butterflies and moths. This is because, as well as being important pollinators, butterflies and moths also form vital parts of the complex ecosystems which support the birds who sing in our gardens and the mammals who populate our countryside.

Their continuing declines are very worrying for our wildlife as a whole. But there are things that we can do to help boost their numbers.

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.”

Marcus Eyles, Horticultural Director for Dobbies, the official partner for Nurture for Nature, said: “Dobbies is committed to communicating the importance of supporting garden wildlife, health and well-being, sustainable practices and environmentally-friendly products.

“We are proud to support Butterfly Conservation with this important campaign and hope people of all ages gain valuable insight from the advice and recommendations we share over the coming weeks.”

Find out how to look after yourself, your family and nature this spring at www.butterfly-conservation.org/nurturefornature and access your free downloadable guide to wellbeing activities and green-fingered ideas.

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