The Urban Butterfly Project

Common Blue (male/upperwing)

The Urban Butterfly Project is building networks of volunteers, trained and equipped to care for greenspaces across central Scotland, enabling butterflies and other wildlife to thrive. Without this work the sight of butterflies basking in the sunshine in a city garden could become a distant memory.

Of the 32 species of butterfly found in Scotland, 22 (69%) have declined in range in the last decade. Even the more common species like the Common Blue and Small Copper are declining rapidly. Identifying the areas in which butterflies are declining means that effective conservation work can begin quickly, but we do not have good information on where even common species are in Scotland’s urban areas. Dramatic changes to butterfly populations can occur from year to year, making it very important to identify isolated populations that risk local extinction.

Volunteers taking part in this project receive training in a number of areas:

  • identification of butterflies and some common day-flying moths
  • wildflower seed collection and storage
  • habitat management work
  • monitoring and recording.

This training will create a group of volunteers able to directly improve conditions for urban butterflies, providing the skills to help monitor and protect Scotland’s urban butterflies into the future. Find out about vounteering opportunties.                

The first year of this project focussed on Glasgow, and more than 70 new volunteers were trained in butterfly identification and recording, collecting over 700 butterfly and moth records. These are already being used to inform conservation work and improve the Council’s greenspaces. With your help this project can engage many more volunteers to improve habitat for urban butterflies and moths in other parts of urban Scotland.

The Urban Butterfly Project will provide exciting opportunities for people to connect with nature and learn about threats facing the urban butterflies of Scotland. Without this work we cannot accurately identify the problems facing species in urban areas, in order to combat them.

This project will enable more people to get involved with recording butterflies and moths, raising awareness of the plight of urban species. It will target over 20 species of butterfly including widespread species such as the Small Tortoiseshell and rare species like the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Several day-flying moths are also included such as the Six-spot Burnet. A simple score will be generated for the areas where species are recorded, identifying those which offer good habitat for butterflies and other pollinators. Habitat management work will be prioritised to target sites where species need the most help. 


Please help us make the biggest difference possible to the butterflies and moths of central Scotland.






Your donation will help fund:

  • a Project Officer to oversee the work including the facilitation of volunteer training and educational workshops
  • events to promote the needs of urban butterflies and recruit volunteers
  • the production of educational materials to help volunteers identify species
  • training of volunteers in greenspace habitat management
  • training in recording to enable identification of areas at risk of losing their butterflies.


This project has been generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Scottish Natural Heritage. We need your help to raise the remaining funds to expand this project and attract more volunteers. This project is essential in protecting butterflies and moths in Scotland’s urban areas for future generations to  enjoy.

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