Booth Museum of Natural History, Brighton 25.5.17
A very special event has taken place at 194 Dyke Road on Thursday 25th May. After eight years in the making A Twenty-First Century Atlas entitled The Butterflies of Sussex was officially launched at the fantastic Booth Museum of Natural History.
The museum, which first opened its doors in 1874, was specifically chosen because of the assistance they have given to Sussex Butterfly Conservation over that period and the fact that they have a second-to-none collection of over 650 types of butterfly on display.
Naturalist and avid collector Edward Thomas Booth donated the museum to the city in 1890 and it was opened under Brighton civic ownership a year later. The museum is totally free to visit but donations are greatly received.
Around 120 modern day naturalists were in attendance for this auspicious occasion, including both authors of this butterfly bible, namely Michael Blencowe and Neil Hulme. Both authors recalled the pains of completing such a task and recounted several amusing stories with the aid of a specially produced video and slides were also shown.
Michael and Neil are extremely proactive with their wildlife work (which obviously includes their beloved butterflies) and both have appeared in magazines and newspapers and on television and radio – they are the go-to experts in their field.
Michael (who could make a fortune as a guest speaker, is a very likeable fellow indeed) has volunteered for Butterfly Conservation Sussex Branch for the past nine years as Conservation Officer and part of his role is to organise butterfly walks, which I have had the pleasure of attending, when we located the rare Grayling.
Michael’s paid job is the People and Wildlife Officer for the Sussex Wildlife Trust (where his wife Claire now also works) and he can add BBC TV’s Springwatch onto his CV too.
Neil Hulme (is another likeable fellow) who’s father sowed the butterfly bug into his son at a young age in the 1960’s, so there isn’t really much that Neil doesn’t know about these wonderful colourful insects. Neil has served the Sussex Branch of Butterfly Conservation in several roles during the years, is currently employed part-time under the Fritillaries for the Future Project. I have had the pleasure of attending his exceptional Purple Emperor butterfly walk and his Brown Hairstreak amble too.
He was recently featured on a national television programme about our nations love of butterflies with fellow enthusiast Matthew Oates, who has written the foreword for the book.
The new hardback book is an impressive 326 pages long and is filled with spectacular photographs throughout and is crammed full of fascinating information on where to locate each and everyone of our Sussex butterfly species. I have waited several years for something like this to come along that is totally relevant to where I live. This book is a must for people from 10 to 100 years old, there is so much to learn.
For more information on the Booth Museum of Natural History, visit: www.brightonmuseums.org.uk/booth
Further details about Sussex Butterflies go to: www.sussex-butterflies.org.uk/index.php
The Butterflies of Sussex book can be ordered here: www.naturebureau.co.uk/bookshop/the-butterflies-of-sussex-detail