Sussex Wildlife Trust’s Youth Rangers, a team of young conservation volunteers aged 16-25, have been helping local residents create a butterfly haven in the grounds of the former St Anne’s School in Lewes.
The team have been removing soil on the Rotten Row site’s south facing slope to expose the chalk beneath and encourage the growth of special chalk downland plants such as horseshoe vetch and kidney vetch.
It’s hoped that these plants will attract butterflies including the Chalkhill Blue and Adonis Blue.
The team of residents and Youth Rangers are following a pattern for the butterfly bank, painted on the slope by Lewes artist Mark Greco and inspired by the local landscape.
The chalk slopes of the old grounds provide the perfect site to establish a butterfly bank, creating a green corridor to help butterflies and other wildlife move more freely between the town and the surrounding countryside.
The former school grounds can be used and enjoyed by the community all year round. Managed by the St Anne’s Steering Group and leased to voluntary organisation 3VA for an initial one-year period, local groups and organisations can apply to make use of the site by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile, a wildlife charity is appealing to members of the public for help in finding a rare insect in East Sussex.
Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust – is trying to track down the Rugged Oil Beetle (Meloe rugosus).
East Sussex, particularly the area from Newhaven to Brighton, has been identified as a national hotspot for Rugged Oil Beetles after they were recorded at two sites in the area during a nationwide hunt.
More information, including an identification guide and management sheet, can be downloaded via the Buglife website www.buglife.org.uk
Sightings, including photographs, can also be uploaded.