Thanks to the Guardian for bringing this to our attention:
Veteran broadcaster encourages people to take part in Big Butterfly Count and highlights mental health benefits of wildlife
Watching nature provides “precious breathing space” from the stress of modern life, Sir David Attenborough has said, as he urges people to take part in the world’s biggest butterfly count.
While the UK’s butterflies are basking in the best summer conditions in more than a decade, if the hot weather becomes a drought it could be catastrophic for the insects as plants wither and caterpillars starve.
The public are being encouraged to take part in the Big Butterfly Count over the next three weeks to help experts see how butterflies are faring and to enjoy the mental health benefits of watching wildlife.
The UK has experienced the right combination of a cold winter and a settled late spring and summer so far this year, enabling spring butterflies to thrive.
The annual count could record a bumper year for species such as holly blue, common white, common blue and red admirals.
But the ongoing hot dry conditions could mean plants wither away and the next generation of caterpillars cannot find the food they need to survive.
Populations of butterflies collapsed as a result of the 1976 drought for this reason, wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation said.
The Big Butterfly Count, organised by Butterfly Conservation and sponsored by B&Q, asks people to spot and record 17 species of common butterflies and two day-flying moths during three weeks of high summer.
Mental health charity Mind is supporting the Big Butterfly Count as a “wonderful way of interacting with the environment” and championing the benefits of spending time in nature, which research shows can help alleviate problems such as depression and anxiety…
Read the whole article here.