Credit: BIMBY Seeker Ellen Scott

Butterflies in My Backyard

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

Season 2023 wrapped up with 20,000 reasons to celebrate!

More than 500 British Columbia residents signed up to participate in BIMBY 2023, and 219 BIMBY Seekers made a total of 20,188 butterfly observations in the province. Together they identified 132 butterfly species. Their contributions accounted for more than two-thirds of B.C. butterfly observations submitted to the iNaturalist community science platform this year.

BIMBY Seekers exceeded expectations.

When BIMBY Seekers submitted their butterfly images on BIMBY iNaturalist, they also documented crucial data to help scientists learn more about the climate and environments butterflies need to survive and thrive. For example, when Seekers filled in the extra observation fields such as cloud cover, temperature, pesticide use, butterfly activity and transect walk, more data were collected to help conjure the wider picture of the environment where these butterflies showed up.

Pairing B.C. butterflies with native plants.

One of the coolest features this year was the matching of plants and butterflies: 4,000 BIMBY Seekers documented matches and the result for a first-year endeavour was more than encouraging. According to Stephen Deedes-Vincke, BIMBY iNaturalist Specialist, “This was an amazing effort for the first year, with over 4,198 butterfly associations.”

Transect walks by BIMBY Seekers yield valuable data for long-term butterfly research.

Apart from imputing data on BIMBY iNaturalist, a selected group of Seekers also committed themselves to walk regular transects. These are set routes for more controlled observations. Thirty Seekers opted to walk transects in 2023. Together, they observed 5,000 butterflies across 460 transects, from Victoria to Houston.

BIMBY School Bioblitz brought hundreds of students to Nature.

Teachers, parents, and students participated in the annual BIMBY School Bioblitz. Five hundred students across B.C. joined the BIMBY School Bioblitz this year. Together, they made 158 observations.

BIMBY committee and expert supporters.

The team that worked on BIMBY 2023 — Michelle Tseng, Stephen Deedes-Vincke, Alex Wong and Tara Moreau — is deeply touched by the dedication and efforts shared by BIMBY Seekers. It is with deep gratitude that the BIMBY team would like to thank our volunteers and our expert supporters, John Reynolds, Crispin Guppy, Heather Kharouba, Steve Ansell, Sally Hocking and Selina Pope.

BIMBY 2024 will start recruitment around the last week of March. We are also going big in 2024, reaching out to all residents in Canada! Stay tuned.

To learn more about BIMBY, please read “BIMBY – Twenty Thousand Reason to Celebrate!

Important Information

  • Seekers will meet the BIMBY team of UBC scientists and volunteer consultants to learn about the state of B.C. butterflies and how BIMBY can help collect data in 2023.

  • Seekers will learn how to submit butterfly photos on iNaturalist.

  • Seekers participating in the BIMBY School Bioblitz will start in May, during Biodiversity Month.

  • From May to September, volunteers will be invited to join the BIMBY Speaker Series, in which experts in citizen science, butterflies, native pollinator plants and the state of B.C.’s biodiversity will share their knowledge and experience.

  • This will be emailed to Seekers starting at the end of May.

  • This will allow Seekers from different cities to meet and exchange notes with each other and BIMBY committee members.

  • This will be organized during the summer months.

  • 1) Transect Walks

    Volunteers will be invited to sign up for transect walks (Seekers who document butterflies along specific walking routes from May to September).

    2) School-based BIMBY Seekers

    Volunteers will be invited to join the BIMBY School Bioblitz during the BIMBY season.

  • This will be shared with BIMBY citizen science volunteers between October and November in a Zoom webinar.

Dr. Michelle Tseng

BIMBY participants have now created one of the most diverse plant-butterfly association data sets in Canada. This information allows us to better understand which plants attract the greatest number of butterflies. It also gives us data on whether certain butterflies are only found on specific plants. Creating this unique data set has been an innovative and remarkable achievement for the 2023 BIMBY team.

UBC Zoologist, Michelle Tseng

BIMBY Seeker Sue Elwell

Picture a grown woman crawling around in the dirt. Yikes! I am 75 and should know better. But I love every minute of my time outdoors chasing those flights of fancy!

Top 2022 BIMBY Seeker, Sue Elwell

About the Butterflies in My Backyard (BIMBY) project

In 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 BIMBY was to create a network of volunteers all over British Columbia who share the goal of documenting and photographing butterflies throughout the province,” said Michelle Tseng.

By October when the BIMBY season wrapped up, 345 volunteers from 94 B.C. communities helped submit 118 species of butterflies to iNaturalist, ranging from the common cabbage white to the highly endangered Johnson’s hairstreak.

According to John Reynolds, conservation ecologist at Simon Fraser University and past chair of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, “BIMBY seekers created data that will be used by conservation biologists to create policy to protect the most vulnerable butterfly species.”

To learn more about BIMBY, please read “BIMBY – Twenty Thousand Reason to Celebrate!

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

BIMBY is a unique citizen science program that engages people of all ages. Not only are we collecting valuable data about B.C. butterflies, but we also engage students to learn about the importance of nature.

UBC Botanical Garden 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.