CHILDREN ACROSS Scotland are to be given the chance to reconnect with nature as part of a new project by wildlife charity ‘Butterfly Conservation’ – following £57,000 in funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and other supporters.

The education project, 'Munching Caterpillars Scotland', will encourage primary school children to get out of the classroom and experience first-hand the world of caterpillars, butterflies and moths and develop an understanding of their important role as pollinators.

The project will run for two years, during which pupils will take part in bug hunts and butterfly surveys in their school grounds, planting areas to provide food for caterpillars and nectar for butterflies and moths, where they will learn all about their life cycles.

In the first year, 14 schools across the central belt are to be targeted and this will increase to another 16 schools next year, reaching out to cities such as Edinburgh.

Project Officer, Polly Phillpot, commented: “We’re targeting schools mainly in urban areas as these children generally experience less wildlife – one little boy told me he’d never seen a butterfly before.

“One of the schools involved actually created a green space for wildlife next to their playground. We helped the kids plant here and they can now do more outdoor lessons and activities in future,” she continued.

“Being outside and enjoying nature is really beneficial to our mental well-being, but it’s also crucial to reconnect the younger generations with the natural world, because ultimately they are the wildlife guardians of the future,” she concluded.

The Munching Caterpillars team will also be visiting public events across Scotland, such as gardening shows and community wildlife days, providing families with resources and activity ideas to do at home.

Free training days will also be held for teachers and leaders of local youth groups who are interested in carrying on the work of Munching Caterpillars Scotland.