In 2010 the big butterfly count was launched by the Butterfly Conservation charity in the UK. It is a nationwide survey to help us analyse the health of the environment around us.
It has quickly become the world's largest survey of butterflies, with over 36,000 people taking part in 2016. Last year almost 400,000 butterflies and day-flying moths were observed and this year the big butterfly count is back, and hoping to be bigger than ever!
Why does the big butterfly count exist?
Butterflies act as great biodiversity indicators because they react very quickly to changes in the environment. A decline in butterfly numbers are an early warning for other wildlife losses.
Many people refer to counting butterflies as 'taking a pulse of nature' but the count will also help us learn more about certain species and what needs to be done to help us protect butterflies from extinction.
Another huge positive from counting butterflies is that we will be able to grasp a better understanding of the effect of climate change on wildlife.
How to take part
It's so simple to take part - all you need to do is count butterflies for 15 minutes on a bright and sunny day!
You can record your findings from anywhere e.g. parks, gardens, fields or forests.
If you are walking through a park total up the number of butterfly species that you observe during the 15 minutes and if you are sitting down in your garden, count the maximum number of each species that you see at a single time.
Head over to the big butterfly count website to find out more. They have handy identification charts, as well as android & iOS apps to assist you in your observations.