Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Butterflies and biodiversity celebrated

Posted on 25 November, 2019 by Ivan

A strong crowd of a few hundred people turned out for perfect weather and an excellent, first-ever Butterfly Celebration Day in Castlemaine on the 17 of November 2019. The free event was in the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens, Victoria, with the community invited to bring a picnic and help celebrate the special story of the threatened Eltham Copper Butterfly, Notoncus ants and Sweet Bursaria plants that make the magic in our local bushland.

Connecting Country provided information and free native plants to the attendees who visited our information stall throughout the day, as well as a base for guided walks through the nearby butterfly habitat. The celebration day was possible with a grant from the Mount Alexander Shire Council. Castlemaine Landcare Group supported local choreographer Vanessa Case and musician Andy Rigby to work with local primary school students to tell the butterfly’s story in movement and music.

This entertaining and educational event featured a Welcome to Country, local musicians, community choirs and a preschool storytelling and craft workshop. Local ecologists Karl Just and Elaine Bayes conducted tours of butterfly habitat north of the gardens, and gave the keen attendees a great overview of the complex symbiotic relationship between the Eltham Copper Butterfly, its preferred habitat of Sweet Bursaria plants and its attendant Notoncus ants.

Another highlight of the day was a visit from David Crosby, the person who published the first scientific description of the Eltham Copper Butterfly as a clearly defined sub-species, back in 1951. During the 1980s he also made an inventory of butterfly habitat for the Melbourne area. David began collecting butterflies as a boy in the 1940s. His comprehensive butterfly collection of 13,000 specimens, included many from areas of habitat now lost to development, is now in the Australian National Insect Collection.

An important part of protecting the Eltham Copper Butterfly is monitoring to record where it currently exists in the Castlemaine area. If you would like to get involved with butterfly monitoring there are three monitoring events during December 2019. Details are provided below. For more information contact Connecting Country or click here.

Eltham Copper Butterfly monitoring events:

  • 12-4 pm Sunday 1 December 2019. Location: Water tank on Hunter Track, top end of Hunter Street, Castlemaine – click here for map.
  • 12-4 pm Sunday 15 December 2019. Location: Parking spot just north of where golf course intersects with Kalimna Tourist Road,¬†Castlemaine – click here for map.
  • 12-4 pm Saturday 28 December 2019. Location: Corner of Vanstan Road and Lawson Parade, behind Castlemaine Secondary College, Castlemaine –¬†click here for map.

The Butterfly Celebration Day was a tribute to our strong and vibrant community, and care for the local environment. Click below and scroll through to enjoy the photos taken by Ivan Carter on the day.





2 responses to “Butterflies and biodiversity celebrated”

  1. Kelsey Tucker says:

    Thanks for publishing this wonderful article. It’s great how the community really champion ECB!

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