1,208 moth artworks displayed at Guille-Alles library exhibition 1 – 20 August
More than 1,200 children in the Bailiwick have their artwork shown in an exhibition this summer as part of an education initiative run by the Pollinator Project about the role of moths in pollination.
The art project, which is supported by law firm led professional services business, Mourant, focuses on 20 insects in the Lepidoptera order – moths – and is on display from 1 to 20 August in the entrance hallway and landing at the Guille-Alles Library in St Peter Port, Guernsey.
The exhibition is the last component of the 2023 Pollinator Project campaign and follows on from this spring’s talks to 4,000 Bailiwick primary school children about the wonders of moths. All these pupils and hundreds more received moth identification packs including take-home leaflets and classroom posters. The annual award-winning campaign is aimed at age 2 to 10 and reaches 21 schools across Guernsey, Sark and Alderney, as well as home-schooled children.
As part of this year’s initiative, children created their own moth from an activity sheet, designed in conjunction with Guernsey Arts.
A giant moth figure, created by local artist Kevin Hickman and with antenna woven by Guernsey-based Rae Bearder, of Rae’s Willowcraft, is also on display.
Laura Harrison, Pollinator Project education lead said: “The Pollinator Project moth competition had so many brilliantly bright moths created by talented local children so we have put these on display at the Guille-Alles library for everyone to enjoy for free. It’s great to see that so many kids have understood the beautiful colours our moths have – they are definitely not dull and boring! We have had over 1,200 entries, from schools and pre-schools across the Bailiwick which is fantastic and judging them all was a really hard job.”
Three children and their families have won a prize for their school, either £500, £250 or £100 worth of vouchers for GROW Ltd so that they can create or expand their own pollinator patch. These three children will also receive individual prizes – a personalised t-shirt of their moth design, a framed copy of their artwork, and a voucher for the environmental website NHBS worth £100, £75, and £50 respectively for first, second and third place.
The judge was Alana Gillies Ridout, Partner in the Guernsey Corporate practice at Mourant, who said: “I was very impressed with the overall standard of entries. The winner Theo Smith’s (age 9) entry stood out particularly due to its inventive use of seed heads, leaves and other natural materials to closely approximate an Emperor moth.
“The second prize, won by Isla Aylward, age 6, from St Martins School, also used natural materials including pressed flowers, herbs and even feathers to create a lovely colourful image.
The detailed nature of the shading was notable in the third prize won by Isabelle Grayland aged 11”.
Both the first prize winner Theo Smith and the third prize winner Isabelle Grayland attend Vale Primary School so have won £600 for the school’s gardens.
Laura Harrison, education lead for the Pollinator project said: “There were almost as many moth artworks as the 1300 types of moths we have in Guernsey, and they have been great to see. There were many inventive entries, with everything from a Spiderman themed moth, one that looked like a stained-glass window, and lots of rainbow-coloured creatures”.
Bailiwick’s children’s favourite moth to decorate
Laura continued: ‘We particularly liked that many children who entered into our competition looked at the “20 Guernsey Moth” posters and leaflets and designed their moth to look like their favourite. 586 entries were decorated to look accurately like a locally found moth and we can reveal that the Bailiwick’s school children’s favourite moth is the Jersey Tiger moth, with 119 entries! This was closely followed by the Light Emerald with 103 created, and the third favourite was the Emperor moth.”
Children encourage adults to participate in conservation
The next step in the annual campaign is about conservation – feeding local moths. Every child that submitted their art for the competition was provided with a packet of pesticide-free, non-invasive seeds to sow their own ‘pollinator-friendly flower mix’ in their garden or planter at home this summer. The aim is to encourage children and their families to increase the habitat and food source for more local beneficial insects. Children can also watch the plants grow into food sources for the insects they learn about in school.
Pollinator Project’s co-founder Barry (the bug man) Wells explains: “Our popular pollinator education campaign, which started five years ago teaching children about bees, then butterflies, bugs and beetles has this year focused this year on 20 of the 1,300 moths in Guernsey. Moths are really important pollinators but are often overlooked or misunderstood. Children who first learned about bumblebees in year 3 will now be in year 7, so have increased their knowledge of many pollinators over the years. We whole-heartedly thank Mourant for supporting this awareness campaign by funding the design and print of the identification guides and classroom posters and purchasing the pollinator-friendly seeds.”
About the Jersey Tiger moth
Named for the distinctive markings on their wings, which resemble a tiger’s and commonly found in the Europe and the Channel Islands (but not the UK in Victorian times); this black, cream and orange moth has a wingspan of 52–65 millimetres and flies July to September. The scientific name is Euplagia quadripunctaria and they are day-flying moths feeding on buddleia and hemp-agrimony.
The larvae (caterpillars) feed on several plants (September to May) on the leaves of nettles, raspberries, dandelions, white deadnettle, ground ivy, plantain, borage, lettuce and hemp-agrimony.