20 <strong>The</strong> <strong>Parish</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> - <strong>June</strong> <strong>2023</strong> Please mention <strong>The</strong> <strong>Parish</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> when responding to advertisements We offer a range of exclusive medical and rejuvenating treatments for both women and men AESTHETIC . MEDICAL . WOMEN’S & MEN’S HEALTH . MASSAGE BEAUTY AND RELAXATION . LYMPHEDEMA . COVID TESTING Book today MAKE YOURSELF A PRIORITY & JOIN THE HEALTHIUM EMPORIUM REVOLUTION www.healthiumclinics.com Reading’s local charity caring for older “putting care before profits” Call 01252 979111 today, to discuss your care needs and availability at our newly refurbished Maitland House care home care | compassion | companionship “<strong>The</strong> place is always fresh, clean, cheerful and vibrant. <strong>The</strong> staff are friendly, helpful,caring and always available for a chat. <strong>The</strong>re is a lot of laughter and silliness which is greatly appreciated” Rosemary (89), resident Maitland House | 11 Maitland Road | Reading | RG1 6NL Email | email@example.com www.abbeyfieldweyvalley.co.uk
feature — 2 Where have all the butterflies gone? <strong>The</strong> <strong>Parish</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> - <strong>June</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 21 3 <strong>June</strong> Butterfly Education and Awareness Day <strong>2023</strong> Peacock Rudmer Zwerver, dreamstime.com Swallowtail Noah-Boyer, unsplash.com I have been interested in butterflies since my father gave me a small patch of ground at the bottom of our garden about 70 years ago, writes Bob Peters. I could grow anything I liked, so the first thing was to plant some runners from a strawberry patch in the family vegetable garden. We lived near Tiptree in Essex where there were acres and acres of strawberries. It was while tending my tiny strawberry patch that I became interested in the visiting butterflies that would always seem to be there. Also, I can't remember where they came from, but in a cupboard we had a collection of dead butterflies and moths. <strong>The</strong>y were displayed in several boxes with glass fronts. Each specimen had been carefully pinned and labelled with their Latin names which I spent hours unsuccessfully trying to decipher. REMOTE CHANCE My favourite butterfly was a splendid Swallowtail and I always hoped that one day I would see one flying in my garden — there was a remote chance because at that time migrant Swallowtails were said to frequent East Anglia and my garden was only about 100 miles further south. Today, native UK populations are rare but stable and restricted to the Norfolk Broads where milk parsley thrives. I never saw one flying wild until I travelled to the Mediterranean in my adult life. I'm by no means an expert on butterflies, I simply enjoy seeing them when spending time in the garden — and I am no expert in gardening either, my approach has always been 'trial and error', as it has always been with everything in life! A bout of Covid a couple of years ago left me without the energy to do much gardening until recently — this lack of energy may have also been age related! However, this year I have been able to get out in the garden a little more and apart from the abundances of thistles, nettles and a variety of weeds, normality is slowly returning. Orange Tip Helen Davies, dreamstime.com <strong>The</strong> most striking thing that I have noticed is the lack of the butterflies that I usually like to stop and watch. As I write this it is still early in the season, but by now there should a good number flying around. I have spotted one lonely Brimstone, which is always the first to be seen every year, one Orange Tip, and one splendid Peacock. Where I wonder, have all the butterflies gone? <strong>The</strong> best source of information I have found is the latest 28 page report published by the UK charity, Butterfly Conservation, it is called <strong>The</strong> State of UK's Butterflies 2022. <strong>The</strong> previous report was 7 years ago. Brimstone Leif Algotsson, dreamstime.com <strong>The</strong> latest one summarises the key findings as being a massive 80% decline. <strong>The</strong> key finding is: In the UK, long-term trends show that 80% of butterfly species have decreased in abundance or distribution, or both since the 1970s. <strong>The</strong> report can be downloaded free at: https://butterflyconservation.org/state-of-uk-butterflies-2022 AWARENESS This month, 3 <strong>June</strong> has been declared a Butterfly Education and Awareness Day <strong>2023</strong> or BEAD for short. It is an annual event organised by the Association for Butterflies (AFB) to raise awareness about the importance of butterfly conservation. BEAD is designed to help educate us, the public, about the importance of butterflies in the pollination process and why it's important to create and protect butterfly habitats. This event is also a great opportunity to teach children about metamorphosis. <strong>The</strong>re are over 200,000 species of butterflies in the world and scientists tell us that they are a vital part of the environment. <strong>The</strong>y are essential as pollinators for many crops, flowers and plants and they provide a good indication of the health of the world's ecosystem and climate change. Scientific studies of butterflies different life cycles will, it is believed, lead to important medical developments in the future. And, of course, they are fascinating insects to sit and watch when you need a break from digging the garden!