Photo: Stephen Deedes-Vincke

BIMBY – The Great B.C. Butterfly Search

Butterflies in My Backyard (BIMBY) is an ongoing citizen science campaign that tracks the abundance and diversity of butterfly species in British Columbia.

About the Butterflies in My Backyard (BIMBY) project

In spring 2022, the David Suzuki Foundation, in partnership with UBC zoologist Michelle Tseng and UBC Botanical Garden associate director Tara Moreau, invited residents of British Columbia to help find butterflies throughout the province.

“The main goal of the Butterflies in My Backyard (BIMBY) — The Great B.C. Butterfly Search was to create a network of volunteers all over British Columbia who share the goal of documenting and photographing butterflies throughout the province. British Columbia has the highest butterfly biodiversity in the country, but its size makes it difficult for any one person or small team to attempt to catalogue the state of this diversity. BIMBY 2022 volunteers, affectionally nicknamed “seekers,” took this task to heart and were overwhelmingly successful in inventorying B.C.’s butterflies,” said Michelle Tseng.

By October when the BIMBY Season wrapped up, 345 volunteers from 94 communities in B.C. joined the project on iNaturalist. BIMBY Seekers uploaded around 8,400 butterfly entries to iNaturalist and photographed species ranging from the common cabbage white to the highly endangered Johnson’s hairstreak, as well as 116 other species throughout the province.

Along with seekers photographing butterflies throughout the province, BIMBY 2022 also included an interactive school program. ‘As a celebration of B.C.’s biodiversity, the Bioblitz is aimed at helping students learn about plants, pollinators and citizen science,” said Alex Wong, lead organizer and researcher for the BIMBY School Bioblitz. Wong added that with 1000 students from 30 schools across the province (from Richmond to Quesnel) adding 253 observations and identifying 89 species from bees to butterflies, BIMBY School Bioblitz 2022 was quite a feat!!

Overall, BIMBY 2022 succeeded on several fronts. Mobilized and supported people from all corners of British Columbia to document butterflies. Engaged teachers and students to participate in the spring BioBlitz. In doing so. Helped seekers, teachers and students get acquainted or reacquainted with nature. Fostered a supportive community of people who all care passionately about the well-being of B.C.’s biodiversity and, last but not least. Created data that will be used by conservation biologists to create policy to protect the most vulnerable butterfly species.

According to John Reynolds, conservation ecologist at Simon Fraser University and past chair of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, “the 8,400 BIMBY seeker observations (on iNaturalist BIMBY Project) account for about 21 per cent of all the butterfly observations that have EVER been made in British Columbia. For one summer, this is quite amazing.”

Stephen Deedes-Vincke helps manage BIMBY on iNaturalist. “Although scientists create and uncover knowledge from their research, there is sometimes a lack of knowledge transfer from the scientific community to the general public. Citizen science projects such as the BIMBY project help facilitate knowledge sharing while also collecting valuable data to help address pressing issues. It is a win-win!” Deedes-Vincke said.

We are in the midst of a climate and biodiversity emergency, which is bad news for nature and the species, including humans, that depend on it. Kudos to all BIMBY seekers, iNaturalist identifiers and the BIMBY work committee for making this report possible. I hope by reading the BIMBY report, you will be inspired to do more for nature and the only planet we call home,“ said Winnie Hwo, BIMBY project lead.

Dr. Michelle Tseng

British Columbia has the highest butterfly biodiversity in the country, but its size makes it difficult for any one person or small team to attempt to catalogue the state of this diversity. BIMBY 2022 volunteers, affectionally nicknamed “seekers,” took this task to heart and were overwhelmingly successful in inventorying B.C.’s butterflies.

UBC Zoologist, Michelle Tseng

Quotes from BIMBY Seekers:

BIMBY seeker Ellen Scott from Celista on the north shore of Shuswap Lake in Thomson Okanagan
“Volunteering with BIMBY seekers has brought out my inner scientist. Newly retired, I am helping with important research that BIMBY and the David Suzuki Foundation are doing to increase our understanding about the habitat and food requirements of butterflies and how human activities and climate change impact these beautiful pollinators.”

BIMBY seekers Dee McRae and Carlie Kearns from Houston
“My attraction to BIMBY was the line — BIMBY is expanding to the rest of the province. My response was that is me. I fit ‘the rest of the province.’ I forwarded the application to a friend, who was accepted’ before me, and we became the BIMBY bimbos.”

BIMBY seeker Vicki Smith from Prince George
“The favourite part about BIMBY for me is sharing what I found with my family. Prior to joining the BIMBY project, I did not know much about butterflies in the Prince George area. I learned so much by participating in the project over the summer and was delighted by the diversity of butterflies in my area. ”

BIMBY seeker Anne Mowat from Glade, West Kootenays
“It is a great experience to feel I’m contributing to fundamental research that may help us take action to preserve habitats for our endangered butterfly species.

BIMBY seeker Karen England from Creston
“Chasing butterflies allowed me moments of childish abandon — dropping whatever I was doing to simply watch, follow and score a great photo if I was lucky and patient enough!.”

To learn more about the work of BIMBY Seekers in 2022, please read the BIMBY Report.

Tara Moreau

It would be great to showcase how we can connect baselining butterflies to halting their extinction.

UBC Botanical Gardent Associate Director, Tara Moreau

BIMBY Committee

Michelle Tseng

UBC zoologist and BIMBY committee member Michelle Tseng

Tara Moreau

Associate Director for UBC Botanical Garden and BIMBY committee member Tara Moreau

Stephen Deedes-Vincke

BIMBY committee member Stephen Deedes-Vincke

Michelle Chan

BIMBY committee member Michelle Chan

Daniel Koveshnikov

BIMBY committee member Daniel Koveshnikov

Alex Wong

UBC Science student and BIMBY committee member Alex Wong

2021 BIMBY Bioblitz

The amazing grade two and three students at Mitchell Elementary in Richmond, B.C., who participated in the 2021 BIMBY Bioblitz.