Part 3

Questions 11 – 15
For each question, choose the correct answer.

Counting butterflies
Teenager Steven Hallam encourages his school to take part in a national annual project

Steven Hallam has always been interested in wildlife. ‘My dad’s a biologist, so he introduced me to wildlife at an early age,’ says Steven. ‘And we’d photographed loads of butterflies together, so I knew a lot about them.’

So when Steven heard about an important annual project, involving checking butterfly numbers, he knew he should take part. ‘According to the project, some butterflies had been low in number last year, and that didn’t sound good, so I was keen to help out. My school’s always trying to help the environment – like checking how many bees visit our school garden. So I thought we could count the butterflies there, too. I don’t think my teacher realised how much I knew about butterflies, but once I’d told her more about the project, she agreed our school should join in.’

‘We tried to make the garden attractive to butterflies. We planted the kinds of flowers they like, but we also hung up small bowls of fruit for them to feed on. I wasn’t sure that would work, but actually it’s where all the butterflies went, rather than to the pools of ordinary rainwater, which we thought they’d prefer. And when it was sunny they sunbathed in the garden area, but flew away whenever schoolchildren came round.’

During the project, Steven and other students had to spend only 30 minutes in the garden every morning, noting down which butterflies they saw, and using helpful butterfly posters to name them. ‘It was great to be outside, but we had a lot to do, as we weren’t there long. But I also got to watch visiting birds, and study their feeding habits, so I really benefitted!’ Steven’s teacher says it’s also given students ideas for artwork about different wildlife.

‘As expected, we saw loads of one white butterfly,’ says Steven. ‘We’d read it had done well this year. But then a small blue butterfly also appeared – which I’d really wanted to tick off my list! There were one or two we don’t often see, too, which was great. I’ve no idea whether our results will show that butterflies are doing well, or that numbers have dropped. But it was fantastic to take part!’