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Butterfly Pavilion Community Science Invites Community Members to Engage in People Powered Conservation Efforts
Volunteer to Be a Scientist and Help Monitor Butterflies and Dragonflies, and Restore Colorado Open Spaces to Preserve Colorado Ecosystems
Westminster, CO – March 31, 2022 –Butterfly Pavilion welcomes back an outdoor enthusiast’s favorite, Butterfly Pavilion Community Science, to help strengthen Colorado communities and save nature’s tiny giants – invertebrates – this spring through fall. For those who love nature and wildlife, care about the environment, and want to be part of a fun and engaging activity with scientific value, there are multiple projects to choose from, suitable for all audiences, including hands-on volunteer opportunities to help restore urban prairies in Colorado open spaces, and participate in butterfly and dragonfly monitoring throughout the state’s various communities.
“Science, especially in the realm of conservation, can be an intimidating field to step into – but I think we often forget that conservation science doesn’t have to involve some grand, wild adventure on another continent. It can start at home with a simple question and an inspired curiosity about our own backyards or nearby open spaces,” said Elise Willcox, Butterfly Pavilion’s domestic butterfly house coordinator. “One of my favorite things about running a Butterfly Pavilion Community Science initiative is how the program fosters a deeper connection with and understanding of our natural world – starting with simple, accessible science that happens close to home. Plus, community science is just plain fun!”
Some sciences, like community science, are impossible without the support of people within the community. They rely on the energy and enthusiasm of individuals who want to help make a difference, providing an outlet to work together to overcome the challenges in today’s environment that is everchanging. In a world that often feels like we are growing further apart, community science allows us to come together towards a common goal, to help learn and protect the incredible wildlife that calls Colorado home. Butterfly Pavilion currently offers three different community science volunteer opportunities:
Colorado Butterfly Monitoring Network (CBMN), established in 2013, harnesses the power of volunteers to conserve Colorado butterflies. Participants are provided the training and tools they need observe and record butterflies in open spaces and parks multiple times per season, gathering essential data that land managers can use when making conservation decisions. Beyond being spectacular, butterflies play a vital role in the ecosystem, serving as both pollinators and as food for other animals. Knowing which butterflies are active in our state gives us important information about the health of our local ecosystems.
Colorado Dragonfly Monitoring Project (CDMP) is a community science project where volunteers observe and count dragonflies in open spaces and parks multiple times per season, gathering essential data that land managers and policy makers can use when making conservation decisions. Dragonflies are not only beautiful, but they are known indicators of ecosystem health and important predators for nuisance species, like mosquitoes! Knowing which dragonflies are active in our state gives us important information about the health of our local ecosystems.
Urban Prairies Project (UPP) helps improve the ecological health of urban and suburban open spaces along the front range and beyond, while providing opportunities to engage community volunteers in habitat conservation for pollinators and other wildlife. Volunteers can choose to participate in hands-on restoration (planting projects, weed mitigation, seed collection, etc.), monitoring and data collection (surrounding pollinators, plants, burrowing owls, soil quality, and more!), or outreach in the community (attending fairs, writing articles putting on nature walks, etc.!) – OR all the above!
These conservation research projects help monitor various populations, prevent extinction, and halt declines that result in the imperiled status of invertebrate species. By participating, volunteers are directly contributing to improving invertebrate conservation, environmental sustainability and informing local policy, as well as getting outdoors and having fun with great people. These projects not only gather important ecological information, but they also help educate and engage the public in invertebrate conservation and research.
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