The practical conservation work of Cumbria Branch is directed towards improving suitable habitat to allow re-colonisation by the target butterfly species.
Conservation Priorities and Objectives
Overall, our objectives and priorities align with those of Butterfly Conservation nationally, which are to save butterflies and moths in the wild in their natural habitats. To achieve that in Cumbria we have local objectives and local priorities. Here below is a list of our target objectives and priorities currently identified with a brief comment on status.
Increase branch membership Branch membership is promoted by, for example, talks, meetings, exhibitions, slide shows and by all other means. We will also consider media promotions and similar publicity. From time to time, there are nationally organised membership offers at reduced rates.
To conserve firstly our high priority species We have a massive Marsh Fritillary re-introduction programme that is ongoing. Together with Natural England, there is a captive breeding programme, regular monitoring of the re-introduced populations and habitat improvement.
In 2008 we started our Morecambe Bay Limestone Woodlands project having been able to secure funding for four years through both Butterfly Conservation nationally and very significant donations from a number of branch members. Currently, the Morecambe Bay Nature Improvement Area (NIA) Project continues this work. The object of this work is to restore woodland habitat to benefit High Brown and Pearl-bordered Fritillaries. Regular winter work parties supplement the activities of the Morecambe Bay NIA.
To conserve our medium priority species The woodland habitat improvement work will be focussed to help many other woodland species.
In the former industrial sites of north-west Cumbria, we are also actively engaged in trying to save Small Blue habitat.
In upland sites, we monitor Mountain Ringlet habitat and populations.
To counter any threat to our butterflies or their habitat in Cumbria This involves being made aware of Planning Applications, advising and taking action where deemed necessary.
Involve branch membership in actual conservation Encourage members and volunteers to attend work party sessions.
Butterfly and moth recording Encourage members to participate in transect recording schemes managed by Butterfly Conservation nationally or local 'patch' recording and submit the results to Butterfly Conservation or the Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre.
Work closely with landowners, farmers and, other natural history and conservation organisations Since Cumbria Branch was established we have raised the profile of Butterfly Conservation locally. We also feel that it is vital to work alongside others if we are to identify and succeed in achieving common objectives.
Education Wherever possible, young people are involved in butterfly related activities. Summer field trips are organised for members and the public to expand their understanding of butterflies and the habitat in which the insects live.
Any other constructive and achievable ideas from members or readers are very much welcomed, contact us.