Get Involved in our Annual Butterfly Blitz
On May 6, we launched our fifth annual Butterfly Blitz. This community volunteer science program helps us collect valuable data on butterflies that live in and travel through the Credit River Watershed. Each year, the popularity of Butterfly Blitz grows. We see an increased number of iNaturalist observations, as well as more participants joining the program.
This has us wondering, what is it that we love so much about studying butterflies? As one of the most beautiful insect groups, the appeal of watching butterflies flutter from one flower to the next is undeniable. If you love butterflies, and want to learn more about them, we encourage you to join our Butterfly Blitz!
Here are some reasons why we think butterflies are so appealing:
In many cultures, the butterfly symbolizes transformation, hope and good luck.
For some cultures in Mexico, a migrating butterfly symbolizes a connection between the living and those who have passed away. They believe that migrating monarchs carry the souls of visiting ancestors.
In Taiwan, specifically in the Han Chinese culture, butterflies are often used as a good luck symbol or to celebrate a long life.
Butterflies are flagship species for conservation because they are indicators of healthy ecosystems. They are widely studied as model organisms to understand the impact of habitat loss and climate change. They’re also fascinating insects for the study of navigation (learn more in this journal post on monarch migration), mimicry (read this journal post on viceroy mimicry), and many other topics.
The data collected through Butterfly Blitz provides valuable information for Credit Valley Conservation about where different butterfly species are found throughout the watershed and which sites species prefer. When the program is complete, we use the data to identify butterflies that are local species of conservation concern. This can help us identify and protect the habitats of locally rare species. Our data is also added to the Ontario Butterfly Atlas, which is publicly available and used by researchers for many different projects.
Iconic Group of Species
Particular butterfly species are iconic. Take the monarch, for example: these butterflies complete an incredible annual migration to and from Mexico. Not only is this migration of scientific value but it’s also a cherished moment to witness and signifies the end of summer.
Butterflies also have fascinating lifecycles, from egg to larva (caterpillar) to pupa (chrysalis) to adult. Their transformation is studied worldwide and is an iconic symbol of change, growth and development. Butterflies are well loved, we often teach children about their lifecycle from an early age.
Why You Should Join our Butterfly Blitz
- Your observation(s) could be featured as an observation of the week on CVC’s Butterfly Blitz iNaturalist journal!
- We run contests throughout the year, with amazing prizes including an annual Credit Valley Park Pass!
- At each in-person event, participants will receive a free one-day Conservation Areas pass for future use!
- You are contributing to valuable research!
Want to get involved in Butterfly Blitz? Learn all about the program, training and ways to get involved.
By CVC’s Kristen Valencia, Program Assistant, Community Outreach