[T]he Lake District Wildlife Park is all aflutter ahead of a big release of Butterflies at the park on 19th July. It is the first of many activities taking place during the school holidays and was set to coincide with the national Big Butterfly count which commences 14th July.
Ahead of their big butterfly release, the park has been working on projects with local schools and Butterfly Conservation groups. The aim is to release around 200 Painted Lady Butterflies at 1pm on WEDNESDAY 19th July.
The Lake District Wildlife Park has developed a school outreach and educational programme which uses Wildlife to Inspire Learning and Discovery – now shortened to WILD. There has been a strong focus on conservation issues with students learning about projects linked to the species on the park which include Forest Rangers (Red Panda) and SEED Madagascar (Lemurs). This spring and summer they have also focused on the estates work to protect and encourage rare species like Red Squirrels and the Cumbrian Marsh Fritillary butterflies.
In the last 150 years 4 butterfly species and 60+ moths have become extinct. Since the 1970’s, three-quarters of British butterflies have gone into decline and many moths are also facing an uncertain future. Fran Foster the LDWLP Environmental Educator, has been working with schools across the county, getting children of all ages excited about butterflies and conservation. From Wigton Infant’s School and Gosforth Primary School, to year ten pupils at Cartmel Priory Science Curriculum Day, children have been given the opportunity to nurture caterpillars into butterflies that can be set free at the wildlife park’s Big Butterfly release on 19th July.
The Big Butterfly Release marks the culmination of a seasons butterfly activities at the park. The park currently has around 200 caterpillars transforming into Painted Lady butterflies. Schools were also given caterpillars and butterfly houses so they could see the metamorphosis take place. Fran said “We’ve had fantastic feedback from the schools who are excited to come along to the parks Big Butterfly Release. The Schools are planning to bring along their butterflies so they can be set free at the park too.
“The experience of raising butterflies is something that these children will never forget. They’re learning the butterfly life cycle by watching the transformation on a daily basis. The Painted Lady Butterfly is not endangered, but the children have still been fascinated by facts about this pretty species – especially discovering that they travel 9,000 miles on a round trip between Africa and the Arctic Circle, and that they can fly at nearly 30mph and cover 100 miles each day. The children also learned that some butterflies are disappearing at an alarming rate and that our own Cumbrian Marsh Fritillary is rare.”
During the day of the butterfly release there will be information displays from the Butterfly Conservation Society as well as an illustrated talk from the Society’s Chris Winnick at 1.30pm for the public.
Park Manager Richard Robinson said “Our butterfly release is the perfect way to start the summer holidays. It’s an opportunity for children to really engage with what we are doing and chance to spend the day exploring the park. We’ve always lots of additional activities throughout the summer and we increase the number of keeper talks, displays and encounters too. We’re hoping the fantastic display will encourage more youngsters to engage with the national Big Butterfly Count that begins 14th July and runs into August. They’re also likely to spot a few species as they wander around the park looking at our animals and listening to our keeper talks.”
This is the first of several events and activities planned for the school holidays. The Big Butterfly Release takes place 1pm Wednesday 19th July. For more information about the park visit www.lakedistrictwildlifepark.com
Please note: Ouse Bridge is closed for repair this week, please check if coming from the west of the county.