RAU environmental students work towards butterfly conservation

Environmental and wildlife students at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) have been busy working on a conservation project in partnership with Butterfly Conservation (Back from the Brink Project) alongside Cirencester Golf Club.

In Cirencester we are fortunate to have a colony of the nationally scarce Duke of Burgundy butterfly which happen to occupy the rough grassy areas of Cirencester Golf Course.

Dr Ian Grange, RAU Lecturer, said: “Students have a fantastic opportunity to not only learn about conservation in action, but also to understand the importance of working in partnership to achieve goals.”

This is however, not without its challenges. The Duke of Burgundy is a fussy butterfly, needing just the right combination of a well-structured grassland, with enough of its key food plant - cowslip. In order to tip the balance in favour of the butterfly, students plug planted 400 cowslip plants.

Duke of Burgundy butterfly

This work was incorporated into a carefully designed field experiment, the outcomes of which will be given to the golf course managers as key management recommendations.

For more information about the Environmental and Wildlife courses on offer at the RAU visit the foundation degrees webpage.