The search for B.C. butterflies continues
VANCOUVER | TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORIES OF THE xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (MUSQUEAM), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (SQUAMISH) AND səlilwətaɬ (TSLEIL-WAUTUTH) FIRST NATIONS — The David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflies in My Backyard citizen science project is recruiting volunteers to help find butterflies in British Columbia.
More than 300 volunteers from diverse backgrounds and locations became BIMBY Seekers last year. Together, they made 8,400 observations, providing vital data for conservation scientists to formulate policies to protect vulnerable butterfly species in B.C.
“We all have a role to play in stewarding the beautiful butterflies that share our landscapes with us,” University of British Columbia Botanical Garden associate director Tara Moreau said. “Observing and recording these species is essential to protecting them for future generations.”
As well as tracking the abundance and diversity of butterflies, BIMBY Seekers selected for 2023 will get a new task to do while walking their transects (set paths): documenting native plants on which butterflies feed and lay eggs. This will help the project gain better insight into these interspecies relationships.
“The most powerful aspect of transects comes when they are visited weekly for numerous years,” UBC zoologist Michelle Tseng said. “Because we know the distance and speed of the BIMBY Seeker walking, if we see an increase in butterflies along that specific route year over year, we know it is because populations are actually increasing and not because more people are looking for butterflies.”
B.C. butterflies are threatened by pesticides, climate change and habitat loss. The BIMBY project team hopes the data collected in 2023 will help present a clearer picture of butterfly health and help inform conservation efforts.
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Butterflies in My Backyard is a B.C.-based citizen science campaign hosted by the David Suzuki Foundation on the iNaturalist platform. BIMBY volunteers work alongside UBC zoologist Michelle Tseng and UBC Botanical Garden associate director Tara Moreau to observe and collect butterfly data. Their goal is to help find endangered and prevalent butterflies and better understand their relationship with native plants. More than 345 volunteers joined BIMBY in 2022.