The Lake District Wildlife Park is gearing up for a colourful school holiday as they promote ‘Love Your Zoo Week’, celebrating British Butterflies from 27th May – 2nd June. In addition to the regular keeper talks, animal feeding sessions, the chance to cuddle-a-cavy, stroke-a-snake or hug-a-bunny, visitors can get actively involved in the county-wide conservation of British Butterflies, with a unique opportunity to build a butterfly B&B that encourages butterflies into their gardens.
The Lake District Wildlife Park is proud to be a member of BIAZA (British & Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) who organise the annual “Love Your Zoo Week”. It is a unified opportunity for all members to promote the conservation, research and education programmes they’re involved with. Conservation at the park includes support for SEED Madagascar conservation project in Madagascar which keepers highlight during their daily Lemur talks. But there are key conservation opportunities closer to home and the park is working with the Cumbria branch of the Butterfly Conservation Society to create awareness, and build feeding stations to help stem the decline in British Butterfly species.
According to ‘The state of the UK’s Butterflies 2015 Report’, 76% of British Butterfly species have declined in the last forty years. Working with the Cumbria Butterfly Conservation Society, Fran Foster the LDWLP Environmental Educator, has created a range of activities for the holidays that will increase awareness of British Butterflies AND give younger visitors chance to build a Butterfly B&B to take home for their gardens*.
Fran commented “It has been said that the caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity, but with such beautiful colourings, who could argue. Butterflies use their wings for flight but they are also a canvas for some of the most striking patterns in nature. Our free craft activities (which can change daily), give children chance to be creative, designing and colouring their own butterflies, decorating biscuits and face painting, plus a butterfly quiz trail as they stroll around the park.
“Our ‘Love Your Zoo’ Week is launched at the Bank Holiday weekend with a special three day Butterfly house build activity. Children will create a butterfly feeder/home that they can take away. It is a great opportunity to get young people involved in hands-on conservation and they are helping maintain vital butterfly habitats. We think families will love seeing their gardens become a colourful haven for insects and we’re also giving them a worksheet so they can be a part of the national Big Butterfly Count survey in July.”
Richard Robinson, Park Manager said “Fran is working with a number of schools and groups and some have already taken part in our butterfly activities, so we know the activities work well. This school holiday is always an exciting time, with young animals on the park and lots of opportunities to get involved. Love Your Zoo week is extra special for us and we like to do something that will make a little difference.”
The Cumbria Branch of the Butterfly Conservation Society will be on hand during the week to provide information and advice for adult enthusiasts. The Lake District Wildlife Park is the ONLY wildlife park in the Lake District, just ten minutes from Keswick; it is open daily 10am – 5.30 pm. You can find out more by calling them on 017687 76239 or by visiting www.lakedistrictwildlifepark.com.
*The Butterfly house build activity costs £5 per Butterfly home/feeding station built. All other Butterfly activities including face painting, crafts and quizzes are free.
Facts about BIAZA members: