Brisbane's Big Butterfly Count
Brisbane’s Big Butterfly Count began with the butterfly season 2020/2021. An initiative of Brisbane Catchments Network (BCN) and all its member groups, the project is a direct results of BCN’s Biodiversity Strategy and aims to engage Brisbane residents of all ages and knowledge levels, provide learning opportunities and the gathering of local butterfly data.
After highly successful initial seasons this citizens science project is here to stay and will be an annual occurrence in Brisbane’s environmental calendar. It consists of:
- surveys in multiple locations across Brisbane, representative of different habitat types found in our city. The aim is to collect data at each selected site three times during the butterfly season;
- popular count using a BioCollect app or a paper flyer, each with illustrations of just over 30 common local butterflies, to be conducted by home gardeners, rehabilitators, visitors to local parks, hikers, school students, and anyone keen on butterflies. All data of surveys and popular counts are entered into the Atlas of Living Australia;
- workshops for butterfly enthusiasts and survey participants who want to enhance their knowledge of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths);
- ecology walks/field workshops to gain a better understanding of the interdependency between butterflies and their habitat;
- provision of resources for educators and butterfly enthusiasts;
- butterfly plantings, targeting especially rehabilitators and home gardeners and allowing for learning about larval host plants;
- displays at public events highlighting the environmental values of looking after butterflies.
Everyone can be a citizen scientist. BCN and all member groups are inviting the Brisbane population to participate in all aspects of the project. No matter the age or knowledge level, Brisbane’s Big Butterfly Count is for everyone.
Around 160 different butterfly species have been recorded in the Brisbane area. They have the potential to be indicators of environmental health, not least thanks to their close relationship with plants.
In our fast growing city butterflies’ habitat can become sparse and fragmented as once large vegetated properties make way to housing developments, usually coinciding with the loss of valuable native plants.
Brisbane’s Big Butterfly Count will put the spotlight on this loss and allow for learning about how to protect habitat, how to bring back native larval host plants to our city’s environment, be it in gardens or in public spaces. To realise that butterflies are important pollinators and part of the food chain and to understand and value our butterfly populations will support those efforts.
Our Partners and Supporters
Brisbane's Big Butterfly Count is an initiative of the Brisbane Catchments Network (BCN) and carried out in cooperation with all member groups. Further information on BCN and member groups can be found on www.brisbanecatchments.org.au.
BCN gratefully acknowledges the financial or in-kind support received by so many.
We thank Brisbane City Council for funding provided for the inaugural season through an Environment Grant which laid the foundation for this successful citizen science project, now in its third year.
We are grateful for the immense support received behind the scenes, with the logo creation by Studio Zweibrand, with webinars and workshops, and in the field from Dr Chris Burwell, Dr Justin Cappadonna, Peter Hendry, Wesley Jenkinson, Dr Trevor Lambkin, Cliff Meyer, Dr John Moss, Dr Geoff Monteith, Dr Peter Samson, Dr Don Sands, Helen Schwencke, and Jessa Thurman, and for the organisation of surveys, workshops, creation of educational materials and ongoing information provision by the initiator of Brisbane's Big Butterfly Count, Jutta Godwin.
Special thanks go to all photographers who provided images used in print and digital media. We are particularly grateful to Sylvia Alexander who continues to generously share her exquisite butterfly images for all our publications including for this website.