From bringing butterflies back from extinction to making it known that moths matter, this International Women’s Day, we meet some of the brilliant women making a difference for butterflies, moths, and the environment at Butterfly Conservation.

Dr Caroline Bulman – Head of Ecology

Caroline Bulman

Caroline has been with Butterfly Conservation for just over 22 years, starting as Species Ecologist following the completion of her PhD on the Marsh Fritillary butterfly and now leading the ecology team as Head of Ecology. Caroline has led on a number of conservation projects across the UK, for a range of threatened butterfly and moth species and has been part of the project team reintroducing Chequered Skipper back to England after it went extinct in 1976.

“My time at BC has been incredibly varied over the years, I’ve had the chance to work on many different species and in a variety of different locations with different people. I love collaborating and working as a team and some of the most rewarding times have been with early-career female ecologists, particularly students who are undertaking their research projects with us. It’s great to give back and encourage, in the same way that I was encouraged and supported as I was getting started; it’s rewarding to mentor other women entering conservation roles and championing science-led conservation efforts.”

Emma Dakin – Youth Engagement Officer

Emma Dakin

A former science teacher, Emma joined Butterfly Conservation in 2023 to help elevate the voices of young people in the organisation and in the wider conservation sector. Emma is currently in the process of creating Butterfly Conservation’s first ever Youth Panel, made up of ten individuals between the ages of 16 and 25 who will help Butterfly Conservation to better engage with young people and make sure that young voices are heard within the organisation.

“I was 21, had just finished my Zoology degree and was presenting some research I’d contributed to in front of a hall full of people. I was so excited to get to the Q&A at the end of my talk, only to be asked why I had chosen to wear ‘so much make-up’ at a conservation event. I felt so small in that moment, and later vowed to myself I would never let pre-conceived ideas on what a young woman in conservation should ‘look’ like hold me back again. I’m so excited to be working with an organisation that values young people and women, and that is currently working on how we can remove barriers to inclusion. I am still invited to talk at conferences, full face of make-up, and I’ve got answers prepared if I was to ever be asked that question again!”

Dr Zoë Randle – Senior Surveys Officer

Zoe Randle, smiles in a field wearing a blue top

Zoë joined Butterfly Conservation in 2007 and, in her role as Senior Surveys Officer, coordinates the National Moth Recording Scheme (NMRS) and the Butterflies for the New Millennium (BNM) recording scheme where thousands of people across the UK count butterflies and moths in their gardens or throughout the countryside and submit their records. This critical data helps to inform the research and conservation work that Butterfly Conservation carries out.

An advocate of moths and moth recording, Zoë was also the lead researcher and author for ‘The Atlas of Britain and Ireland’s Larger Moths’, a landmark publication that not only helped raise much-needed awareness of Britain and Ireland’s moth species, but also provided an important tool for scientists to further track their fortunes and help protect them for the future.

“I joined Butterfly Conservation for the Moths Count project, which aimed to establish a National Moth Recording Scheme for moths to help us understand their distributions – you cannot conserve something unless you know where it is found. The data provided by the butterfly and moth recording community underpins all our work and it has been great to see the number of female County Recorders and Verification Assistants increase in my time working at BC.”

Emma Butler – Head of Communications and PR

Emma Butler

Emma Butler joined Butterfly Conservation almost three years ago and has been involved in making sure that as many people as possible know and care about the UK’s butterflies and moths and the challenges they face. Emma leads a small team to successfully keep butterflies, moths and the environment on the media agenda and oversees Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count, which last year saw almost 95,000 people taking part!

“Historically, studying butterflies and moths and conserving them was often the realm of men. Now, Butterfly Conservation is full of brilliant, talented female lepidopterists as well as many female volunteers doing fantastic work – it’s an absolute privilege to tell the stories behind the vital work that they and Butterfly Conservation do so brilliantly. We believe nature is for everyone, and we need more people to notice, enjoy, and care about butterflies and moths in order to protect them, which is why the work the communications team does is so important.” 

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