Award for restoration of vital habitat

The Morecambe Bay Butterfly Project, run by Butterfly Conservation, has been presented with The Bittern Award for its work to conserve and enhance habitat for endangered butterflies in the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The award was presented to Martin Wain, Conservation Officer of the Project. It is awarded annually to a person or group who have done more than their ‘fair share’ to conserve and enhance the area.

“Butterfly Conservation is proud to accept this prestigious award. Morecambe Bay is the single most important area for butterflies in Britain and every effort we can make to reverse the fortune of our declining butterflies is worth it.

The success of this project is due to the hard work of many other people before me, including those volunteers who go out and regularly count the butterfly numbers and work on volunteer work parties".

Arnside and Silverdale AONB is one of the remaining places in Britain that the High Brown Fritillary butterfly is maintaining a good local population.This species has suffered the biggest drop in numbers of all UK butterflies over recent years.

The large butterfly, with stunning orange and brown markings, was been declared a priority species after numbers fell more than 80 per cent in a ten year period. Without habitat management intervention it is likely the High Brown Fritillary would be extinct.

Lucy Barron, AONB manager for Arnside and Silverdale said: “Martin has done a brilliant job instigated several site habitat restoration schemes in the area, such as Yealand Hall Allotment, Myers Allotment and Middlebarrow plain, bringing together land owners, conservation partners and volunteers from the local community to help achieve this work. We hope that the butterflies and habitats can be enjoyed by people for many years to come”.