Dr Dan Danahar is a biodiversity educationalist, who has led a number of local initiatives within his home city of Brighton & Hove, including persuading the public to count butterflies. This inspired the national UK charity Butterfly Conservation to develop the annual Big Butterfly Count. In 2010 as part of the International Year of Biodiversity Dan led a citywide approach to raising public awareness of global and local biodiversity loss. He persuaded a loose association of local environmental organisations to work in a partnership, entitled Big Nature – a synonym for biodiversity, to successfully produce a year-long series of biodiversity related events.
Dan has also introduced an ecological engineering approach to habitat restoration for chalk grassland butterflies, giving the public access to nature on their doorsteps within the urban environment. Initial sites of habitat creation greatly increased floral diversity, for example, the Liz Williams Butterfly Haven, went from amenity/municipal grassland with 10 wildflower species to a surrogate habitat with over 100 species, an order of magnitude increase. To date 30 species of butterfly have been recorded on this site (81% of the city’s butterfly fauna). Dan also encouraged Brighton & Hove parks department to create over 30 such sites and is an advisor on the Brilliant Butterflies project (£1M budget) run by the Natural History Museum, Butterfly Conservation & London Wildlife Trust.
Dan is Executive Trustee of the charitable company Big Nature, which aims to revitalise the relationship between people and their local wildlife by creating natural habitats within the UNESCO designated Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere reserve (now known as The Living Coast). Over the last 3 years, Dan advocated a year-long biodiversity celebration within The Living Coast to coincide with the end of the International Decade of Biodiversity in 2020. This project Nature 2020 was launched on the 31st January 2020. Dan also makes video’s on biodiversity related issues whcih you can see over on his YouTube channel.
Since 2014, Dan has been working on a Citizen’s Science project in the Greek island of Corfu to encourage the public to become more interested in butterflies and on the 1st January 2021 launched the five-year Corfu Butterfly Survey, which aims to produce the first comprehensive atlas of Corfiot butterflies (see corfubutterflyconservation.org).