Fingal Head Public School students Sam Jacobson and Ashi Hilmer planting vines for butterflies.
Fingal Head Public School students Sam Jacobson and Ashi Hilmer planting vines for butterflies.

Vine effort to save butterfly

A FINGAL Head community group is working with children to plant vines that attract endangered butterflies.

Fingal Head Coastcare president Kay Bolton said she was working with Fingal Head Public School students to plant a number of the vines in the Fingal area.

The group teaches the pupils about the plight of the Richmond bird butterfly.

“It's endangered because the vines are rare ... and it's not a terribly attractive vine,” she said.

The group takes cuttings of “butterfly vine” – scientific name Pararistolochia praevenosa – and plants them around Fingal Head to attract the butterflies.

“They say the butterfly will fly 30km to the vines,” Ms Bolton said.

The group has been working with Fingal Head Public School for close to 10 years.

“We have a very large vine that is at the Fingal Head Coastcare Nursery,” Ms Bolton said.

But the nature of the Fingal Head bushland and its soil presents specific challenges for the group and students.

“They are fairly difficult to grow here because of the sand,” Ms Bolton said.

She said the students enjoyed learning about the natural world in a practical way.

“They loved it, they always do. They love getting their hands dirty,” she said.

Ms Bolton also engages the students in classroom activities such as making cardboard butterflies. And the students take all the activities very seriously.

“We've found that by working with them, they keep an eye on the vines,” Ms Bolton said.


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