SCHOOLCHILDREN across Cheshire are being encouraged to take a closer look at wildlife with the help of a ground-breaking education programme.
The Cheshire and Peak District Branch of wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation are targeting children with their Munching Caterpillars project, which aims to encourage primary school pupils to take positive, practical action to help moths, butterflies and caterpillars.
The project, which started in Somerset and Dorset schools last year thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, allows pupils to observe live specimens up close and learn about the life cycles, adaptations and ecology of butterflies and moths.
Rupert Adams, education officer for the Cheshire and Peak District Branch, who is delivering the programme, said: “Having been fascinated with butterflies and moths all my life it’s a privilege to be given the chance to inspire a new generation of conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts.
“The teachers and children alike are excited at the prospect of their schools being involved in the initiative.”
As part of the scheme, children will plant caterpillar munch boxes and butterfly fuel stations in their school grounds.
Pupils will grow specially selected plants that provide food for hungry caterpillars or nectar for the adult butterflies and moths.
Children will participate in recording their sightings and submitting results to regional and national recorders, providing invaluable information on the location and population of butterflies and moths.
Alongside planting and monitoring, schools will be helped to conduct scientific experiments to establish the best ways to attract moths into gardens.
The work in Cheshire and the Peak District is part of a trial to extend the scope and reach of the original project based in Dorset and Somerset, with the hope that it will help to inform plans for a national campaign in the future.
Activities are planned for the spring and summer months with the projects being tailored to suit individual school requirements.