Volunteers help protect beautiful butterflies!

Butterfly enthusiasts from across the Borough and beyond came together recently to carry out some vital work at Craigavon Lakes Local Nature Reserve.

The event, which was organised by Craigavon Borough Council’s Conservation Team in partnership with Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland, involved volunteers removing invasive scrub from an area which is vitally important to the Cryptic Wood White Butterfly.

This beautifully delicate butterfly, only recently identified through scientific research and previously believed to be the Real’s Wood White butterfly, is found at various sites throughout Northern Ireland but the largest population is at Craigavon Lakes. It is found in open habitats, such as grassland, abandoned quarries and roadside verges and feeds on various vetches and trefoils. If scrub is allowed to take over the important plants upon which the butterfly depends on this could threaten the survival of the species.
Helping lead the team of volunteers was Hugh Thompson, Conservation Projects Officer with Craigavon Borough Council, who said “It is encouraging to see so many people donning their wellies and braving the wet weather to carry out this vital work which will help protect a unique species of butterfly. The presence of this butterfly at Craigavon Lakes adds to the beauty of the environment and attracts visitors to the Borough from far and wide. I would like to thank everyone who took part.”

The best time to see the Cryptic Wood White butterfly is between late May and early July when large numbers can be seen in flight over grassy areas around the lakes.
This is the latest event in a series of activities which have been organised to provide local people with the chance to help carry out practical environmental work on a voluntary basis throughout the Borough.