As Guernsey moves into Phase 3, a new Lockdown initiative is being launched today by The Pollinator Project and Guernsey Mind to encourage us all into our gardens and the Guernsey countryside.
Guernsey Post will be delivering a leaflet to every household this week about ways that islanders can garden with wildlife in mind while enjoying the mental health benefits that time spent in green spaces and connecting with nature can bring. A ‘Create A Guernsey Butterfly’ sheet also accompanies the leaflet and is a creative competition open to all islanders.
Pollinator Project coordinator Vanessa Crispini-Adams explained, ‘Usually at this time of year we would be busy in schools and community groups giving presentations on the insects that can be found in Guernsey and helping to create Pollinator Patches that provide food for emerging pollinating insects that are so vital to healthy ecosystems. This year our school focus was to be on the 19 species of butterfly that breed here in Guernsey and was a follow on from our hugely successful Bumblebee schools campaign last year. Just as we were about to launch the campaign the C19 crisis hit and the schools closed. However as this lockdown keeps demonstrating, we are lucky to live in such a close-knit community and within weeks suggestions of how the project could be resurrected and made bigger and better emerged, together with people offering to support us. With that support and the blessing from Public Health team we have been able to open up our 2020 Guernsey Butterfly campaign to the whole community as a lockdown initiative and highlight the broader benefits of wildlife gardening for our own personal wellbeing.
Friday 22 May is International Day of Biodiversity, which the Pollinator Project marks each year with an event. This year it coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week and it made perfect sense to team up with Guernsey Mind on this initiative as mental health has been an important consideration during lockdown.’
Louisa Mace from Guernsey Mind said ‘This week’s National Mental Health Awareness theme is kindness. We wanted to focus on kindness to others but also kindness to ourselves. Self care does not always come easily but the benefits of allowing time to connect with nature are well known, as is doing something positive and creative. This Lockdown initiative suggests nature based activities for inside and out, for individuals as well as families and hopefully provides Other things tonotice get involved with something that everyone can engage with.’
The Pollinator Project is working with Nedbank Private Wealth and the Guernsey Arts Commission on the Guernsey Butterfly creative element. Russ Fossey of Guernsey Arts Commission said, ‘We were just bowled over by the engagement with the Bumblebee campaign last year and I’m delighted that we could run with the Butterfly theme this year after all. A project that reaches everyone within our community is what we are all about at the GAC as there is an artist hiding in each of us. We hope people of all ages will get involved this year and it would be fabulous to see thousands of Guernsey Butterflies emerging from these challenging times and winging their way to us at Candie. We were hoping to gather 5000+ butterflies for a community art project on Guernsey wildlife in the pipeline for later this year. The deadline for submitting butterflies is 30 June so there is plenty of time for people to get creative either on your own or with families or bubble buddies.’
Dan Bisson MD Nedgroup Trust added: ‘Nedbank are extremely proud to support such a positive community project in these challenging times. Having a young family at home in lockdown myself, I think many of us are looking for fresh ideas to do together. It will give young and old an opportunity to learn, appreciate the beauty we have on our doorsteps and have some fun whilst doing it. I’m excited to see the creative efforts of islanders as the butterflies start arriving’.
If you need more Butterfly identification sheet you can download one here:
THE BUTTERFLY COMPETITION AND SEED OFFER HAVE NOW ENDED.