Moth with wings fully open, showing the orange with black dots underwings

Cream-spot Tiger Moth. Photo: Mike Skelton.

Getting involved with Butterfly Conservation can help you as well as our butterflies

Dorset has a lot of beautiful countryside, and butterfly recording is the perfect excuse to get out and explore parts you don’t know.

“We acquired a new interest and have spent many happy years recording what we came across. We are only casual butterfly recorders, but really enjoy having a purpose to our ramblings” – Lynda Lambert, member since 2011

Butterfly Conservation can also offer you times to meet like-minded people, either to look for butterflies, or to attend one of our indoor events – see our Events page.

You can feel you are helping, albeit in a small way, some of the species that our modern world is threatening.


Join Butterfly Conservation

Joining Butterfly Conservation helps in many ways. The button below takes you to the national Butterfly Conservation website which tells you more:

Join us

As a member of the national organisation, you are automatically also a member of the branch where you live.


Make a donation

The donate link below will take you to the national Butterfly Conservation website, but the money will come to Dorset Branch.

Money is used for:

  • Conservation work. Our volunteers put in over 2,000 hours of conservation work every year, but there are some tasks they cannot undertake, so contractors have to be paid, and tools have to be purchased for the volunteers to use.
  • Education. This may be sessions with children in school, courses for adults, talks to societies, or walks. Again, most of the work is done by volunteers who make little or no charge, but there are costs like hall hire and refreshments.
  • Profile-raising. We work constantly to raise the profile of butterflies and moths, and the work we do to help them. We give talks and attend events held by other organisations, talking to hundreds of people about the importance of our work. We tend to prioritise those events we can attend free, but some do charge for a stall.
  • Running the organisation. Costs include the printing and distribution of our newsletter, maintenance of the website, and holding meetings including an AGM (Annual General Meeting – required by our constitution).

Donate now

There are more ways you can help us gain income.


Volunteer with us

More volunteer help is always needed, and there is a wide variety of tasks.

1. Conservation action

  • Why? Much of the loss of butterfly and moth species is down to loss or change of habitat.
  • What? Often scrub clearance, to stop habitats reverting. Also planting caterpillar foodplants, ragwort pulling, coppicing and more.
  • Where? We have regular work parties at various locations throughout Dorset as well as some more ad-hoc ones.
  • Who? Anyone with a reasonable degree of mobility. The heavy stuff needs strong active people, but there is also less strenuous work, like carrying away the scrub which has been cut down and creating wildlife habitats with it.
  • Is it a big commitment? No – you can turn up when you want.
  • What’s in it for you? Healthy exercise in the wonderful Dorset Countryside, meeting like-minded people, the chance to learn more about what is needed to help wildlife and fun!

Contact is Nigel Spring

2. Butterfly counting

Man sitting on a hillside

Looking for butterflies can take you to some lovely parts of Dorset. Photo: Lyn Pullen

  • Why? If we don’t know how they are doing, and how they react to weather and habitat management then we cannot help them very well.
  • How? We have many ways of monitoring butterflies in Dorset – see the How to Record page for details.
  • Who? Pretty well anyone – see the How to Record page to work out what suits you. You do not have to be a butterfly expert.
  • Is it a big commitment? It can be as big or small as you wish.
  • What’s in it for you? A fascinating and satisfying occupation, where there is always more to learn – this is an area where citizen science is of huge value. Also, it is mainly only undertaken on sunny days: butterflies will not come out if it’s too cold or very wet.

Contact is our Records Officer, Bill Shreeves

3. Computer work to support the monitoring of migrant butterfly species

Our Records Officer, Bill Shreeves, has recently (March 2014) identified some help he needs. This arises from the increasing difficulties we suffer in judging whether records of migrant butterflies reported to us are genuine migrants, or have been bred and released by someone in the UK.

These are separate tasks, so could be done by different people.

  • A weather ‘back tracker’ who can use weather data, especially wind speed/direction, at the time of a specific sighting of a migrant to find out where it might have come from.
  • A website researcher to look out for news of migrants & collect dates they have been seen, both within Dorset and across the UK.
  • An intelligence officer to keep an eye on the locations of weddings and funerals where butterflies are released. Knowing the dates will allow us to compare the releases with records of possible migrant sightings so we have a better idea whether sightings are natural or man-made.
  • A migrant and first sightings reporter to circulate Dorset records to the staff at Butterfly Conservation HQ, and/or Nick Bowles for publication in British Wildlife.

Contact is our Records Officer, Bill Shreeves

4. Other

People standing round a table, buying items

The Branch Sales stall at one of our AGMs. Photo: Lyn Pullen

  • Going out on our education/sales stall. You do not have to be a butterfly expert, just willing to talk to people. Contact Nigel Spring
  • Helping run the Branch by joining the Committee. Contact our Chair, Nigel Spring
  • Raising funds – could you grow plants for us to sell on our plant stall, or make craft items to sell on our stall, for example? Contact Lyn Pullen
  • Making cakes for our AGM and other meetings. Contact Adrian Neil
  • The headquarters of the national Butterfly Conservation are in Dorset, near East Lulworth in Purbeck. They also need volunteer help, particularly with tasks such as envelope stuffing and data input. Contact Liz Riches-Jones on 01929 406034 or lriches-jones@butterfly-conservation.org