We are proud to introduce our ‘Insect conservation project’, and our first breeding programme is 'project Woolly bear’. The beautiful Wooly Bear Caterpillar transforms into an equally beautiful Tiger Moth! This lovely day time moth has declined by a staggering 90% in the past 40 years so we are doing our little bit to help nature thrive and we would like schools and community groups to get involved to become our #woollybearwarriors from Spring 2020! For our 'Insect conservation project', we have teamed up with our friend and insect expert Debbie Collins.
Owl photographs kindly taken by Kim Breddy,
Neil Breddy & www.bluedogimages.co.uk
subject to copy right© & used under RF License.
Hoot With Me Community Interest Company
The Woolly Bear caterpillar historically was loved by children as it looks almost furry, with long white hairs set amongst a dense layer of shorter black and ginger hairs. However, sadly most children nowadays would not have seen it!
This species feeds on docks and other low growing plants – this moth has declined in abundance severely, in fact by a staggering 90% in the last 40 years and the change in habitat, particularly, the removing of weeds in the countryside is likely to be part of its problem.
Our breeding programme is underway and we have lots of ‘Woolly Bear’ Caterpillar’s of all sizes and they have now mostly gone into hibernation, with exception of the odd one or two, but they are certainly slowing down getting ready to hibernate. We are therefore looking for 'woolly Bear Warriors' in Schools and Community Groups to get involved from Spring 2020. In the meantime, this would give the school a chance to prepare the small area needed with relevant plants etc.
Debbie at the Norfolk County Council Early Years 3 day anual conference 2019
As far back as I can remember, I was always surrounded by jars, tanks and various containers holding a variety of bugs and small animals. My poor Mum who was never a big fan of, "creepy crawlies," was always afraid to touch anything in my bedroom in case something crawled out! Eventually, my Dad built me my own shed to keep my ever growing menagerie at the bottom of the garden rather than in the house.
Of all the many creatures that I have kept and studied over the years, it has always been butterflies and moths that have most captured my interest and admiration.
The front garden of our family home had a rockery that was a mass of alyssum and aubretia that became a glorious display of purple and yellow in early summer. I would spend hours looking through the plants in search of woolly bears. These fury caterpillars were my absolute favourite and at some point, I can't remember how or why, they acquired the nickname, "Charlies," in our house! I used to keep vast numbers of them in tanks until they went through their incredible metamorphosis into the beautiful Garden Tiger Moths. I would keep some of the resulting eggs so that I could watch the entire cycle and then I would release the moths. Sadly, these amazing creatures have decreased by 90% since those days.
There is no charge to get involved, but your school or group will need to ensure you have the correct plant source for the caterpillars / moth to eat.
-Whilst a Caterpillar, the school would need an area around the feeding ground. This would need to be suppled by the School.
-The school would need to keep a progress and number diary noting any changes (I.e. stages, chrysalis, moths etc).
-When the moth emerges from the chrysalis, in moth state, it only has a 2 week lifespan, so the moth would need to be released in to the school garden, ensuring relevant food source is plentiful. At this stage the school would still need to keep a count with photographs, particularly if there are breeding male and female moths, which would then lay eggs, which would be fabulous.
-A record of eggs / caterpillars / moths would need to be recorded thereafter
-We will be available to offer advice every step of the way.
If your school or group would like to become one of our fabulous #woollybearwarriors please get in touch and tell us why by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org