More than 150 residents of our Ward joined forces on 25 June at a special event to help save one of the UK’s rarest butterflies.
The Butterfly Watch, at Devonshire Avenue Nature Area in Devonshire Avenue, was part of a series of measures to aid the small blue butterfly, which lives in just seven locations in London – three of which are in Sutton.
Residents learnt how different butterflies use the reserve, while children joined in with face painting, nature trails, and craft activities to build a butterfly. Devonshire School’s Parent Teacher Association kept everyone fuelled with cold drinks and home made scones, whilst watching their children have a lot of fun.
Sutton’s Biodiversity Team showed residents how the butterfly survives on kidney vetch, the plant which provides the caterpillar with its food and habitat.
Kidney vetch thrives in Sutton’s chalky, alkaline soil, and Sutton Nature Conservation Volunteers took the names of people and organisations who want to grow the plant in their gardens and allotments to increase the available habitat and provide stepping stones for the butterfly to colonise further areas.
Here, the Council’s Biodiversity Officer, Jurk Hendryk, explains what the butterflies need to survive.
Councillor Heather Honour said: “This event was part of a wider scheme to improve the site, which provides an important green space in an area of our borough which has fewer back gardens. I am so pleased that many different parts of our local community are involved in this project, from Christchurch in the neighbouring road, to the South Sutton Neighbourhood Association (SSNA). For many of the children, it was the first time they had ever been on a nature trail, and they loved it! Fun and learning, what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon?”
The SSNA has put in a bid for external funds to improve the area and provide a small play facility so local children have somewhere local to play.
Small blue butterflies were identified in the late afternoon and there is currently (July) a good display of kidney vetch at the nature area. There will be a demonstration of how to grow it and distribution of seeds later, in early September.
Colin Hall, Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change on Sutton Council, said: “The information day was all about telling residents how to give the butterfly a helping hand by growing the plants that it needs to survive – it’s a great example of the community coming together and boosting biodiversity in its own back yard.”
For any enquiries about getting involved with the project contact Councillor Honour on firstname.lastname@example.org or for information about the site or small blue butterfly, please call the Biodiversity Team on 020 8770 5821 or email: email@example.com.
[ Devonshire Avenue Nature Area ]