Elephant Hawk-moth by Andrew Cooper

There is an awful lot that you can do yourself (or with your friends and family) for butterflies, moths and the environment. Starting at home, in your community or workplace makes your practice more sustainable in every sense and your projects are more likely to succeed too.

So, what can you do? You can read up on species that you are interested in, undertake a survey of your areas to see what you have, create and improve spaces for wildlife through planting and habitat management and much more. Following are resources, projects and organisations that will help you discover and identify what it is that you can do.

Butterfly Conservation science, factsheets and habitat advice

Science: Conservation action must be based on sound scientific evidence if it is to be effective. Butterfly Conservation undertakes scientific research in collaboration with universities and other organisations around the world in order to provide such evidence. Our aim is always to publish such research in peer-reviewed journals and, where possible, to make these papers accessible to the public without charge.

Factsheets and habitat advice sheets can be used to provide an overview of species ecology, assist with species identification and advise on best practice management for specific species and habitats.

Butterfly Conservation also produces conservation reports and reviews, which can be found in the same area, that give an overview of species trends and summarises some of our conservation work, such as The State of the UK’s Butterflies 2015. There are also archived regional and species action plans which can be used for reference.

Small Tortoiseshell - Iain Leach

Gardens and landscapes

Recording and surveying species is vital in understanding their status but we don’t just leave it there - we also take practical action on-the-ground for species as well as giving advice on gardens to landscapes. Butterfly Conservation manages over 30 nature reserves across the UK as well as partnering with other organisations to deliver practical conservation action on their reserves, grounds etc.

Northern Ireland is beautifully-diverse from east to the west with recognisably-distinctive landscapes. In many instances, these landscapes are fortunate to have Landscape Partnership Scheme bodies celebrating and promoting their natural, built and cultural heritage. Butterfly Conservation is working with these and other partners to help deliver their projects on a local level.

We recommend getting on the mailing list for your local project or group so that you hear about events and opportunities to make a difference, participate and get outdoors!


Reports and Leaflets

The butterflies and moths of Northern Ireland
Local lepidoptera biodiversity action for butterflies and moths
Moths of Northern Ireland
Learn about the Marsh Fritillary
County Checklists of Northern Ireland's Microlepidoptera

Butterfly Files

Butterfly Files leaflet
Butterfly Files postcard


Marsh Fritillary - Mark Searle

Polli:nation is a UK-wide project running across a network of 260 schools and a growing number of community groups and individuals, making changes for Pollinators. Each year, participants survey their spaces and learn more about pollinators and what they need, making sure there is plenty of food and shelter.

There is a lot of freely-available information here, giving you access to suggested activities and surveys as well as being able to see what sort of activities some schools have implemented on their grounds. There are curriculum-based activities and identification guides which fit really well with the Eco-Schools programme if your school is engaged with this as well.

Woodland Trust’s Nature Detectives is another fantastic website to visit if you’re looking for ideas on how to engage with younger audiences in nature-based activities. There’s lots of great stuff here to get you started… one of our favourites is their sheet on ‘Winter Twig ID’; something that is useful for all ages.

Following are some of the organisations and groups that BCNI work with and that you may be interested in as well:

Landscape Partnerships:

Belfast Hills Partnership

Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust

Lough Erne Landscape Partnership

Lagan Valley Regional Park

Lough Neagh Landscape Partnership

Mourne Mountains Landscape Partnership Scheme

Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership Scheme

Sperrins Gateway Landscape Partnership



Belfast Naturalists Field Club

Birdwatch Ireland

BTO (British Trust for Ornithology)


Bumblebee Conservation Trust

Butterfly Conservation Ireland

Drumnaph Community Nature Reserve, Co. Antrim

Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens

Glens of Antrim Pollinator Group - find them on FB

Grow Wild!

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful

National Trust Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Environment Link

Oxford Island Nature Reserve, Craigavon

RSPB Northern Ireland

The Conservation Volunteers (TCV)

Ulster Farmers Union

Ulster Wildlife

Woodland Trust



CEDaR (Centre for Environmental Data and Recording)

DAERA (Dept. Environment, Agriculture and Rural Affairs)

National Biodiversity Data Centre, Waterford

Northern Ireland Environment Agency

Heritage Lottery Fund