How school children and their inspiring teacher created an extraordinary reserve for butterflies in the heart of their campus - and have gone on to use butterflies as flagships for conservation from Sussex to Ghana.
In 2007, the Dorothy Stringer School created Brighton’s first Butterfly Haven. Led by environmental science teacher Dr Dan Danahar, student volunteers landscaped a chalk slope, sowing a wildflower seed mix and planting 5,500 locally sourced wildflower plugs. Since then, they have recorded over 27 different butterflies species at this site. The Brighton & Hove City Council was inspired by the school’s success and partnered with the South Downs National Park to launch the “South Downs Way Ahead” project. Now a city-wide butterfly conservation effort, hundreds of volunteers worked with council rangers to plant 200,000 wildflower plugs creating habitat for the Dingy & Grizzled Skippers, Small and Chalkhill Blues and Adonis Blue butterflies. In 2014, the UNESCO recognised the Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere as World Biosphere area, the first completely new Biosphere site in the UK established for almost forty years.
Left to right in image: Dr Dan Danahar, Milo Mergler, Josh Osbourne, Taran Crockett and Rose Skiera