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

More than 160 volunteers joined the Butterflies in My Backyard (BIMBY) project in 2021. The B.C.-based citizen science campaign is hosted by the David Suzuki Foundation on the iNaturalist platform. BIMBY volunteers worked alongside UBC zoologist Michelle Tseng and UBC Botanical Garden associate director Tara Moreau to observe and collect data on B.C. butterflies. Their goal was to help find endangered and prevalent butterflies and better understand their relationship with native plants.

Last year, BIMBY participants made 615 observations, documenting 47 butterfly species in Metro Vancouver.

In 2022, all people in British Columbia are invited to join the BIMBY project’s Great B.C. Butterfly Search. The goal is to recruit volunteers throughout the province to identify butterflies in their communities.

According to E-Fauna B.C., a biodiversity website run by the UBC geography department, there are at least 184 local butterfly species in the province, the most diverse in the country. Tseng says the latest data also show 10 out of 19 endangered insects in B.C. are butterflies.

Like other wild pollinators, butterflies in B.C. face challenges including pesticide harm, climate change and habitat loss. But the biggest challenge is the lack of data. The BIMBY team, which comprises DSF staff, volunteer consultants and UBC scientists, hopes the data collected in 2022 will present a clearer picture of B.C. butterfly health, causes of their challenges and implications for biodiversity.

According to Moreau, apart from using citizen science to create a baseline and document butterfly abundance and diversity in B.C., it is important “to see how this work can help to halt the loss of biodiversity and prevent extinction of species in B.C. These are the big global biodiversity goals for the next decade and it would be great to showcase how we can connect baselining butterflies to halting their extinction.”

Dr. Michelle Tseng

Latest data also show 10 out of 19 endangered insects in B.C. are butterflies.

UBC Zoologist, Michelle Tseng

What do BIMBY volunteers do after being selected?

BIMBY volunteers will be asked to join the Butterflies in My Backyard (BIMBY) project on iNaturalist.

BIMBY webinar training is on April 9, 2022.

Morning training will be about taking and submitting photos of butterflies and plants they rest on to BIMBY on iNaturalist.

Volunteers will also meet the BIMBY’s team of UBC scientists and volunteer consultants to learn about the state of B.C. butterflies and what BIMBY can help achieve with the data collected in 2022.

  • From May to September, volunteers will attend monthly meetings, on Zoom or in person.
  • A final report will be shared with BIMBY citizen science volunteers between October and November in a Zoom webinar.
  • Optional participation: You will be invited to sign up to be BIMBY Walkers (volunteers who document butterflies along specific walking routes from May to September).
  • School-based BIMBY volunteers will be invited to join the BIMBY School Bioblitz during the first week of June.
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

Carol Walters

BIMBY committee member Carol Walters

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

Anne-Marie Fenn

Anderson Elementary teacher and BIMBY committee member Anne-Marie Fenn

2021 BIMBY Bioblitz

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