Munching Caterpillars is a Butterfly Conservation education campaign aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of butterflies, moths and their caterpillars among young people and their families.

Having volunteered with us in 2017, as part of her degree at the University of West England, we were delighted to welcome Lucy back as the Munching Caterpillar contractor for the Somerset & Bristol branch.

Munching Caterpillars in Bristol (Lucy Cunningham) - Robbie Labonowski
Lucy at St Werburghs School, Bristol

Lucy visits primary schools in Bristol and teaches children about butterflies and moths, their lifecycles, habitats and foodplants, and about how they can help to conserve our British species. Her workshops include opportunities to see live specimens and to get hands-on, planting nectar and food plants in the school grounds. They are fun, interactive and a great way to capture the children’s interest in the wildlife that can be found on their doorstep.

Wild Spaces Schools Engagement, Bristol & North Somerset - Final Report 2023

Lucy Greenslade, October 2023

It has been a very busy season with the workshops going down well in the North Somerset schools. I had a very positive response from the teachers when I started contacting all the local schools in May. There is very little nature-based engagement work done in the area and the schools were very keen to be involved. I have worked with 11 schools this year, most of which are new to the project. I have run the workshops for 26 classes, meeting nearly 800 children.

The workshops are always very popular and discussions go in different directions dependent on the age and recent topics taught in the class. In St. Martins’ primary School, after a discussion about what butterflies and moths need to survive, one pupil was so inspired he wanted to go home and make a planter full of nectar rich flowers as his garden only had artificial grass. At Banwell Primary, a Year 5 pupil decided the Box Tree moth needed to be put on the naughty step for being an invasive species! The Year 6 class had been looking at evolution and asked “will more butterflies evolve and moths die out?” They also wanted to know how Peacock butterflies had evolved to have eye markings on their wings.

The sessions have been appreciated much more in the area and I received lovely thank you cards from Year 4 at Oldmixon Primary. Every single pupil wrote a card and it was interesting to see which elements of the workshop they had focused on.

I also had some lovely reactions from the other classes I worked with at Oldmixon Primary.

That was fascinating, it is inspiring me to be a butterfly specialist” – Year 6 pupil

She wouldn’t join Forest School because of the insects but she loved looking at the moths” - Teaching Assistant, Year 2

In addition to the workshops, I have worked with 4 schools on the Wild Spaces project to help improve the habitat for butterflies and moths in the school grounds. These are short sessions which are run with smaller groups of children from school clubs. However, there was so much enthusiasm at Castle Batch Primary, I had 44 pupils join the Eco Club when usually there was only about 20. After completing a mini survey of the grounds, we decided there were a limited number of flowering plants so we created a wildflower area in their Forest School, all under the supervision of a Speckled Wood.

I have received some lovely feedback from the teachers about both the workshops and the Wild Spaces sessions.

A big, big thank you from us all here at Hutton Primary School, my class were so interested and excited. The Year 1 teacher also said the workshop was fantastic. We really appreciate you coming to work with our school – and would love to see you again next year if possible. We will look after the plants & hopefully see a better environment for caterpillars, butterflies and moths.”

“We had such a great time planting the flowers to attract butterflies to our Forest School. Thank you for your knowledge and support” – Castle Batch Primary

Quite a few of the schools I have visited this year have already expressed an interest in booking for next year. Some of schools already had a full calendar by the time I contacted them in May but have asked to be added to the mailing list for the Spring.

Summer 2022:

At last, Lucy has been able to return to visiting primary schools in Bristol to offer free workshops about butterflies and moths.

Some of the schools that Lucy has already visited this season include:

  • Glenfrome Primary, Eastville
  • Stoke Park
  • St Werburgh's
  • Cabot Primary
  • Ashton Gate Primary
  • Southville

For the latest news from Lucy, follow her Facebook page 'Flutterby Outdoor Learning'

October 2020:

The Munching Caterpillars project had busy spring and summer terms planned with lots of school visits booked in the diary, so it was with great sadness that Lucy needed to cancel them due to the Covid restrictions. She really missed meeting the pupils in Bristol Primary Schools, but it didn’t mean they missed out on learning about our wonderful butterflies, moths and their caterpillars. Lucy has  been busy sharing some fantastic online resources including a film based on their usual workshops to over 400 schools in Bristol and Somerset.

In addition to the film, there are some great resources and activities on the Butterfly Conservation website which she has been promoting to youth and community groups, scouts, and parks groups across the region. She hopes the children and their families will enjoy making kites and planting wildflower areas to help our insects.

Munching Caterpillers hope to start running workshops again next year and already have multiple schools interested. If you would like Lucy to visit your school in the Bristol area, please send an email to @email and she will keep you updated.

Over the 2019 season, Lucy visited 9 different schools, delivered 48 workshops and engaged with almost 900 children.  

We would like to thank all the staff and children that have welcomed Lucy into their schools this year.

  • Ashton Gate Primary, Ashton
  • Barton Hill Primary
  • Cabot Primary, St Pauls
  • Glenfrome Primary, Eastville
  • Holy Cross Primary, Bedminster
  • Stoke Park, Lockleaze
  • St Martin's C of E Primary
  • St Werburghs Primary
  • Woodstock
Munching Caterpillars in Bristol_644 (St Werburghs school) - Robbie Labonowski
St Werburghs School, Bristol

If you know a Bristol school who would be keen to receive a visit please contact either Kate Merry, @email or Lucy @email for more information.


Lucy's 2019 end of year report is available by clicking on this link.

Read about Lucy's experiences by clicking on this link