killing butterflies

Michael Walker michaelgwalker at
Thu Sep 24 17:33:02 EDT 1998

Laurel Godley wrote -

"I have found the best way to get people excited about 
butterflies and butterfly habitats is to show them butterflies.  Someone
else here said that most people don't even notice butterflies in the wild.
Sadly this is all too true.  I know this because two years ago I was one of
those people.  An avid outdoors-woman, I tended to go for the big picture
stuff, not mere bugs.  But then one day, I bought a butterfly display box
at a street art faire (by product of the dreaded collectors and
professional breeders of the world) and my life has changed since."

First let me say that I am not against collecting for scientific purposes
and I understand that some species are not possible to identify in the
field without first killing it.  In Britain all of our butterfly species,
yes I know we don't have many, are reasonably easy to identify with
practise without capture.    

I regularly give talks about butterflies to local wildlife groups, and
often non wildlife minded groups as well, and have had no difficulty in
getting people enthusiastic about butterflies without the need to show them
a dead specimen in a case.  Perhaps we are just soft and sentimental over
here on our "little-bitty island" but I am sure that I would not be as
successful if I turned up with a collection.  

I find that by showing slides of species that people are already familiar
with and have probably seen in their gardens makes it easy to make the next
step to talking about the problems our butterflies have in this over
developed part of the world.  Many of these new converts are now regular
recorders to the national "Butterflies for the New Millennium" project and
are providing valuable data for the atlas to be published in 2000.

details on the Millennium Project at

Michael Walker
Colwick, Nottingham.
michaelgwalker at

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