Butterfly art aims to spark climate conversation

Schoolchildren have helped to craft hundreds of paper butterflies that are on display around a museum in a bid to spark conversation about the climate crisis.

Pupils from Parkside Community College in Cambridge were inspired to create the art installation, called The Butterfly Effect, after learning that butterflies act as an early warning sign of changes in the environment.

The butterflies, at Cambridge University's Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, are on show alongside cardboard protest banners.

Dr Richard Fox, head of science at Butterfly Conservation, said it was important to understand how insects responded to a changing climate and take action to protect them.

'Never been more important'

Students attended after-school workshops in their free time as part of the project, which began last November.

Nicola Skipper, Sedgwick Museum education co-ordinator, said it had been a joy to work with students.

"The Sedgwick Museum has rocks and fossils that show over 1,700 million years of global climate change and it's vital young people engage with the climate crisis," Ms Skipper said.

"This programme was created to connect the upcoming generation with our world-leading climate scientists and to give the students a space and voice within the museum.

"It's been wonderful to see them respond to it so enthusiastically and creatively."

School pupils at the art installation
Pupils at Parkside Community College were inspired to create the art installation after learning that they act as an early warning sign to changes in the environment [Cambridge University/PA Media]

Dr Fox urged people to take part in the annual citizen science project, the Big Butterfly Count, from 12 July to 4 August.

"Butterflies are indicators of a healthy natural environment and can indeed flag early warning signs of environmental issues," he said.

"With half of Britain's butterfly species already threatened or near threatened with extinction, it's never been more important to understand how our insects are responding to the changing climate and take action to protect them so that they can keep informing us of the wider health of the environment.

"With climate change here to stay, we need people to take part more than ever this year."

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