With the help of an army of citizen scientists, the Vermont Butterfly Big Year aims to record every species of butterfly in Vermont this year. It’s a blend of science, education, competition, enjoyment, and a quest to monitor the changing nature of the state. Join us!
VCE biologist Kent McFarland led a six-year atlas of butterfly diversity across Vermont, involving hundreds of volunteers and producing a landmark report in 2007, established a baseline accounting of butterfly distribution and abundance throughout the state.
But it has been almost a decade since the survey. Atlases are typically repeated every 25 years, so we won’t have another effort like that until around 2027. But with eButterfly making the task much easier, we thought it was time to get a quick, one-year snapshot across the state.
The Vermont Butterfly Big Year aims to get volunteers of all kinds to search fields and fens, mountains and meadows, even their own backyards, to help document every species of butterfly in Vermont and in as many locations as possible. Digital cameras and eButterfly make this mission easier for volunteers and our biologists.
A real-time, online checklist program, e-Butterfly provides a new way for everyone to report, organize, and access information about butterflies in Vermont and beyond. Launched in 2013, e-Butterfly provides rich data sources for basic information on butterfly abundance,distribution,and phenology.
Finding all of Vermont’s butterfly species in one year won’t be easy
Vermont has over 105 species, and many of them fly only in selected habitats at certain times of year. Butterfly watchers will only find the secretive Jutta Arctic in a remote spruce bog in June, for example, and they must wait until August to locate the rust-colored Leonard’s Skipper darting around a brushy field. We’re hoping that all volunteers from the Vermont Butterfly Survey and many new folks will help visit thousands of survey sites across the state. eButterfly will keep a live tally of our progress, and in the end, we’re hoping that with everyone’s contributions, we’ll have recorded every single butterfly species found in Vermont.
From the first flight of a Mourning Cloak in April to the last flight of a Clouded Sulphur in the waning days of November, there’s much to be learned during this year’s Vermont Butterfly BigYear.We hope you’ll join us.
Submit Your Data to eButterfly
It’s that simple. If you submit your observations to eButterfly they count. Don’t worry — you don’t need to be an expert. Even butterfly checklist from your backyard will help.
Check for Updates and Detailed Stats
During the Butterfly Big Year, we’ll keep you updated with all the latest butterfly news. You’ll be able to follow VCE biologists efforts and you’ll be able to track how many species have been seen around the Green Mountain State. Just click on News in the sidebar for all the latest information.
Organize With Your Friends for Greater Coverage
Start discussions with friends, on social media, or at nature centers to make a plan to find difficult species and visit interesting habitats. Who will “get” Brown Elfin in your area? Black Dashl? Early Hairstreak? Not all efforts need to work towards the state total. Try to organize in your county to make sure teams spread out and find as many species as possible and in as many places as possible.
Join the Statewide Network of Butterfly Watchers and Conservationists
Vermont Butterfly Big Year and eButterfly connects a network of people across the state to support butterfly conservation. From the shorelines of Lake Champlain to the summit of Mt. Mansfield, and from bogs to backyards – all of us are working to understand and conserve the butterflies we care about. Help mobilize butterfly watchers in your area. Join the Vermont butterfly email group, or the Vermont Butterfly Facebook group. Spread the word!