The Butterfly Conservation Trust (Kent & SE London Branch) reported that the first Black-veined moth larva seen in the UK this century was discovered on the 27th April 2022 at Wye National Nature Reserve.
The black-veined moth is listed by the UK Biodiversity Action Plan as a ‘priority species’. It is a rare and threatened species in the UK, restricted to just 7 sites in Kent which includes the Wye Downs. This year as part of their John Muir Award, Mighty Oaks class worked with the Butterfly Conservation Trust, Natural England and conservationist Lizzie Talbot to carry out conservation and habitat management work at the Wye National Nature Reserve.
The children carried out tree popping to remove blackthorn and other trees and shrubs that were encroaching on the chalk grassland of the downs, which forms the preferred breeding sites of the moth. The children’s conservation efforts allow wildflowers such as Marjoram, Black Knapweed and Birds-foot Trefoil (which the class were equally delighted and disgusted to learn some people call ‘Granny’s toenails’!)
By carrying out scrub control on the site, the class were able to provide more space for the wildflowers to grow in suitably open conditions on the downs around Brook.
Mighty Oaks class member Elizabeth said,
“The news is overwhelming and makes me feel so proud of our conservation efforts. I am really pleased that we have helped to ensure that the moth will hopefully be around for future generations to enjoy.”
Conservationist Lizzie Talbot praised the children for their efforts, saying,
“This fantastic news enables us to learn more about the species to help better conserve and support its needs.”
Headteacher Mr Chris Green added,
“I am so proud of our children for supporting the conservation of our local area and biodiversity.”