Amy is an Undergraduate at the University of West England studying for a BSc Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. Volunteering with our Munching Caterpillars education project has opened up new opportunities, including an adventure to Turkey...
How did you come to volunteer for Butterfly Conservation?
I discovered the opportunity to volunteer with BC through my university volunteering service. I went along to the introduction and training session and it was exactly the kind of opportunity I was looking for. I have always been fascinated by butterflies and moths and wanted to find out more about their ecology. I also loved the idea of engaging children from the city with nature - it is so, so important.
What kinds of things did you get involved with?
I was primarily involved in BC's Munching Caterpillars project, this included teaching primary school children about lepidopteran ecology, planting up their school grounds with pollinator friendly plants, identifying live specimens from a moth trap, and of course lots of games! My role was to support the Project Officer deliver the sessions, and I also helped at the Bristol Festival of Nature, and with sessions at a local Community Centre,
Any favourite moments?
Watching the turnaround of some children before and after coming face to face with the moths we showed them. I can remember one particular child who was so scared she did not let go of her two friend's hands the entire walk to the trap, and made me promise I wouldn't let them out and scare her. Within ten minutes, she was holding three moths and shouted 'wow these are so cool!’
How has volunteering with BC helped you?
Through co-leading the workshops I gained enough confidence and experience working with children to land my first paid conservation job - working for The Bushcraft Company. I taught children how to build fires, make shelters and most importantly was able to share my knowledge of butterfly identification on the nature trails! I was also chosen to represent BC on an Erasmus exchange with METU, the university in Ankara, Turkey. I was able to improve my ID skills with help from experts in the field whilst conducting a Bioblitz of the campus - I've never seen so many butterflies. It was an incredible experience!
Do you have any other hobbies/interests?
I absolutely love being outdoors, so like to go hiking regularly. I'm also really interested in campaigning and behaviour change, and following a successful lobby to create a sustainable palm oil policy at The Student's Union at UWE, and UWE itself, I have been focused on working to support universities across the UK to follow suit.
Would you recommend volunteering with BC to others?
Yes, without question - I look forward to volunteering with BC every summer; this will be my third year.