Credit: Sue Elwell

Butterflies in My Backyard — BIMBY Canada

Butterflies in My Backyard is a community science campaign that tracks the diversity of butterfly species and their relationship with native plants in Canada.

BIMBY 2024 Season has begun!

BUTTERFLIES IN MY BACKYARD is a community science project that trains volunteers to take photos of butterflies in Canada and submit observations to the BIMBY Project on iNaturalist (an app that shares the work of nature enthusiasts with scientists around the globe).

BIMBY participants from throughout the country, affectionately called “Seekers,” will be able to help the scientific community learn more about the status of butterflies and their relationship with native plants in Canada.

After the two-week recruitment in early April, BIMBY 2024 season has begun.

To learn more about BIMBY, please read “BIMBY – Twenty thousand reasons to celebrate!

Important Information

Dr. Michelle Tseng

Like most insects, butterflies are threatened by a lack of suitable habitat, pesticides, pollution, and climate change. Fortunately, there is a lot we can do to reverse the decline of butterflies. One of the simplest and fastest ways to help butterflies is to take pictures of them.
Canada is home to almost 300 species of butterflies and it’s often the rare species that need our help the most. BIMBY 2024 will train and support Canadians from coast to coast to photograph and monitor butterflies.

UBC Ecologist, Michelle Tseng

About the Butterflies in My Backyard (BIMBY) project

The project began in 2022 as a partnership with University of British Columbia ecologist Michelle Tseng, UBC Botanical Garden associate director Tara Moreau and iNaturalist specialist Stephen Deedes-Vincke to document butterflies in British Columbia.

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.”

By 2023, BIMBY had more than 500 volunteers from B.C. who made 20,000 observations of butterflies on iNaturalist. Seekers also documented butterfly activities and their relationship with native plants. The project officially launched nationwide in April, 2024.

Quotes from BIMBY Seekers:

Eric Habisch
“I love butterflies while observing them in their native habitat. In 2023, I saw migrating monarch at Boundary Bay June 25, Becker’s white in Hope July 25, the grey hairstreak in Pitt Meadows August 1 and closing off the 2023 season with a hike up Cypress Mountain with Steve Ansell was great.”

Courtney Ashford
“On my hunt for butterflies, I have become so much more aware of the environment and the life that surrounds me. I was taken aback by how I notice so many more insects now — bees, dragonflies, moths, flies and, of course, butterflies. I also have gotten to learn so much more about plants and trees (both native and invasive) and the importance and interplay between them and other species.”

Jim Lawrence
“A favourite photo from the BIMBY experience is not my photo of a Kootenay butterfly but one of my granddaughters. To me, this illustrates how respect and appreciation for our winged friends spreads around.”

Sue Elwell
“There are so many butterflies that are exciting to see but for me this year it was the Rocky Mountain Parnassian. Having found a breeding area so accessible meant that it was possible to get good pictures of a beautiful butterfly that is in the one per cent of butterflies. This was a highlight for me.”

Shirley Morrison
“How do I even begin to describe what this experience of seeking butterflies has been like for me this season? To be able to get out in nature and combine it with my love of photography has been priceless. It’s been a true joy learning more about how important plants are to the whole ecosystem. I have a new appreciation of how important even the common dandelion is. It’s one of the first nectar plants to bloom in my area, and I’m still finding butterflies on late-blooming ones at the end of the season as well.”

Stephen Deedes-Vincke

As I observe my surroundings, I am acutely aware of the impact of climate change and the deterioration of our planet. This crisis reverberates across all life forms — plants, insects and animals alike. Through our work on the BIMBY project, I aspire to make a meaningful contribution toward the protection of butterflies throughout Canada.

Stephen Deedes-Vincke, BIMBY iNaturalist Specialist

BIMBY Work Group

Michelle Tseng

UBC Ecologist 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

Kirstyn Eckhardt

Kirstyn Eckhardt recently graduated with her M.Sc. in entomology, for which she studied the growth and development of an endangered grassland butterfly. She lives in Manitoba, Canada, and spends much of her free time seeking out and photographing butterflies.

Sue Elwell

Sue Elwell is a retiree who has lived with her husband in Princeton, B.C. since 1975 and has always been interested in nature. After “retiring,” she bought a camera and took up bird watching. This led to joining BIMBY in 2022 and becoming enthralled and obsessed with butterflies!

Julia Daly

Julia Daly has worked in the fields of habitat conservation and restoration, with a particular focus on the stewardship of Garry oak ecosystems for the past 12 years. Julia is currently the senior propagation and restoration specialist at Satinflower Nurseries, where she enjoys sharing the importance of native plants in supporting pollinators (like butterflies!), other wildlife and overall biodiversity.


  • It is fine to use “Obscured.” “Open” is preferred, but it is okay to flag the location as “Obscured.”

  • Plant associations should be done when the butterfly is either feeding or laying eggs.

  • They might be puddling, but no plant association required.

  • Yes, but it will be registered as a “casual” observation as it can’t be verified.

  • Feel free to upload all photos, regardless of the quality. If the photograph is not good enough, the observation may not reach research grade.

  • This should be four separate observations as they are four individual butterflies.

  • There is no need to select the BIMBY Project during an upload as your observation will automatically appear in BIMBY.

  • A single observation will add itself to all relevant projects depending on the filters that have been set up. 

  • Yes. 

  • Ideally yes, but cultivated plants will be registered as “Casual” and will not get research grade status.

  • You do not always have to join a project for your observations to show up in another project. Consider a “project” more a search with filters, such as “Butterflies and Ontario.” 

    Some projects collect any public observations that meet whatever their criteria are. BIMBY has a criterion that it only takes those from members. 

  • You should upload four different observations, and add the goldenrod to each observation as a plant association.