Artists and Poets unite to save butterflies

PUBLISHED: 10:35 20 July 2011 | UPDATED: 19:44 20 February 2013

Artists and Poets unite to save butterflies

Artists and Poets unite to save butterflies

The fragile butterfly is a prime indicator of the health of our entire ecosystem. Poets and artists from across Shropshire have banded together to raise awareness and funds to keep the butterfly safe.

More than half of our countrys native butterfly species are found in Shropshire. It is a good place, then, to guage the health of the butterfly population - and the results have not been encouraging.

Intensive farming and woodland management schemes, combined with the increasing use of chemicals and loss of nectar-giving flowers in gardens, have had a dire impact on the butterfly population.

Work is under way nationally and locally to arrest the decline, at places like Prees Heath nature reserve, near Whitchurch, where conservationists are protecting the last sanctuary for the Silver-studded Blue butterfly in the Midlands.

Mike Williams, from West Midlands Butterfly Conservation, said: The county is incredibly important for its butterflies, which are sensitive indicators of the health of the wider countryside.

In a bid to help raise awareness, local poet and butterfly fan Nadia Kingsley persuaded dozens of writers and artists to join her to celebrate the humble butterfly in a new book, Shropshire Butterflies - a poetic and artistic guide to the butterflies of Shropshire.

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy praised the book as: one of the most delightful green poetry projects I have heard of, while wildlife illustrator Richard Lewington describes it as an absolute feast of butterfly imagery, with every imaginable visual celebration, intermingled with poetry and prose

The book features more than 100 poems, pieces of prose and artwork all about butterflies those fleetingly brilliant yet elusive insects that flutter and flit through spring into summer.

Says Nadia: When I had the idea for this book I knew almost nothing about butterflies except that they were very pretty and I always felt happy when I caught sight of one.

Some 15 months on I have seen almost all of the butterflies in Shropshire, can identify them, some just about by their flight pattern, have visited some extraordinary places, have learnt so much about wildflowers, conservation and their habitats and have got in touch with the child within,.

The book takes readers on a journey through the seasons, from Spring to Winter, along the way introducing all of the countys 39 species including the Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone and Comma.

The book features contributed poems from an incredible array of artists and writers.

They include Rita Carter, a popular poet and artist and a member of The Border Poets, Shropshire; Paul Evans, a nature writer and lecturer from Much Wenlock; and Ben Waddams, a countryside artist who regularly appears in our pages.

The book is published by Fair Acre Press, priced 11.99. For each book sold a donation will be made to support the work of West Midlands Butterfly Conservation, who are working hard to conserve Shropshires butterflies and the habitats they need to survive.

An exhibition and sale of some of the art from the book takes place in the tea room at Dudmaston Hall, near Bridgnorth, from July 24th to September 24th. (Open Sunday to Wednesday through the summer.)

Contact Butterfly Conservation by emailing or by telephoning 01952 249325.

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