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...

Amy Staff - Volunteer

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.