Current Students and Staff

// University News

photo of a butterfly on a buddleia plant

20 Jul 2018

Are you on campus over summer? If so, why not get outdoors for the nation’s annual butterfly count!

Loughborough University staff and students that are remaining on campus over the summer are encouraged to take part in this year’s Big Butterfly Count.

The annual event, which is led by the Butterfly Conservation, will take place from 20 July – 12 August.

The count started in 2010 and it is a nationwide survey that helps to assess how healthy the environment is around us.

Last year, over 60,000 people in the UK took part and submitted over 62,000 counts of butterflies and day moths.

The reason butterflies are monitored to assess the condition of the environment is because they react so quickly to changing environments, making them great biodiversity indicators.

For example, if there’s a decline in butterflies, it’s likely there’s a decline in other wildlife species too.

The survey aims to discover ways of reducing the extinction of butterfly species, as well as understanding the effect climate change is having on UK wildlife.

At Loughborough University, over 60 species of butterflies and 200 types of moths have been identified.

By checking out the woodlands and wildflower meadows across campus, not only can staff and students help the cause, they can also stay active and potentially discover new areas around the University.

Sustainability Manager Jo Shields said: “Did you know that moths and butterflies are actually the same species, but the name of butterfly was given to those predominantly seen in the day?  There are over 2000 species combined making the moth population well worth exploring; my favourite is the elephant hawk moth.”

“Check out the bank that borders the Holywell football pitches too for a good chance of spotting butterflies.”

For more information about the Big Butterfly Count and to sign up, visit the dedicated website. To find out more about the biodiversity on campus, check out the Sustainability Team’s webpages

Those that are interested in making their garden at home more accommodating for butterflies should take a look at the tips below:

  • Try to include butterfly friendly plants in your garden, such as buddleias, lavender, hebe and verbena
  • Also consider caterpillar-friendly plants; examples include ivy and nettle
  • Avoid using pesticides or insecticides where possible, and use peat-free compost
  • If you have any fruit-bearing trees, leave the fallen fruit on the ground, as autumn butterflies such as the Red Admiral and the Painted Lady will feed on this
  • Add rocks and other flat surfaces in your garden for butterflies to rest on.