The Butterfly Effect

‘The Butterfly Effect’ is a term coined by the meteorologist and mathematician Edwards Lorenz in 1969 to capture the idea that a small cause (the flap of a butterfly’s wing) could have a major effect such as an extreme weather event. We have borrowed the metaphor as it reflects our ambition for the activities envisaged in a single geography, in this case Gloucestershire, to be scaled up throughout the UK, and the knowledge imparted in a small number of people to be shared with many.

The Butterfly Effect is a new initiative that aims to activate community support and bring a new wave of volunteers to Butterfly Conservation. Education and engaging young people and families will be at the heart of the project but it will pull together a ‘toolkit’ of different opportunities for involving communities.

The main driver of the project is to use this education work as a focus for raising awareness and understanding of how people can get involved to save butterflies, moths and their environment.

Built around Butterfly Conservation’s proven education programme Munching Caterpillars and public campaigns, Big Butterfly Count, Garden Survey and Plant Pots for Pollinators this initiative will draw all these elements together.

The project will operate among a diverse range of groups to include schools. higher education establishments, local government, gardening and nature groups.

Lower Woods Nature Reserve – sustainable woodland management

At over two miles long Lower Woods Nature Reserve is one of England’s largest oak-ash woods on heavy clay soils, and a paradise for wildlife.

The area was given over to the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust in 1996 on behalf of the nation. The reserve, a few miles north of Chipping Sodbury is now managed for nature conservation and environmental education.

Restore has helped provide funding to assist the Trust in developing a showcase of sustainable woodland management at this site.

The School Ponds and Natural Habitats for Learning Project

The School Ponds and Natural Habitats for Learning Project encourages schools to develop and use their own wildlife ponds, providing habitat for a variety of species including frogs.

The three schools chosen are The Moat in Gloucester, Arthur Dye in Cheltenham and Severnbanks in Lydney.

Ashleworth Ham and Meerend Thicket Nature Reserve

Ashleworth Ham and Meerend Thicket Nature Reserve lies in the flood plain of the Severn Vale, to the north east of Ashleworth Village and approximately 8 miles from Cheltenham.

The reserve is part of a much larger SSSI, the remnant of an extensive area of wet meadow land. Access to the reserve is prohibited and birds may only be viewed from hides and a viewing screen in Meerend Thicket.

An extensive program of work supported by Restore Our Planet has included replacing the viewing screens and the bird hides, creating new scrapes and a grassland mosaic for breeding waders, laying hedges and ditch re-profiling. The sponsored activity has also included a plant and invertebrate survey, and the installation of sluice valves and pump.

The Amphibian Sanctuary Project

Earth is facing its largest mass extinction since the disappearance of the dinosaurs with amphibians particularly threatened with up to half their species in danger. Not only are they affected by habitat loss, climate change, pollution and pesticide but they face an even bigger threat from a deadly parasitic fungus known as amphibian chytrid.

Bristol Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in Europe, founded in 1836. It is now a leading education and conservation charity making a significant contribution to conservation in the wild both overseas and in the UK, such as breeding and re-introducing two native species-the Barberry carpet moth and the water vole.

The objective of the Amphibian Sanctuary is to provide a biosecure unit capable of breeding groups of endangered amphibians, while protecting them from the fungus. Also to increase awareness and understanding of amphibian conservation and to integrate the breeding programme with a field project examining how to mitigate the threats in the wild.

It is hoped the project will secure the long-term survival of at least two amphibian species whilst at the same time developing a greater understanding of the amphibian crisis.