Golf fans visiting Carnoustie will get a free wildlife lesson as a campaign to save an under-threat butterfly tees up for the next round.
The campaign to save the declining numbers of the Small Blue butterfly will be a feature of the 147th Open Championship, with Small Blue banners made by local schoolchildren from Woodlands Primary School, on display in the new Links House.
Angus Council’s “Small Blue Champion”, Arbroath West and Letham Independent Councillor David Fairweather has also been working with the children to paint the butterflies on stones and rocks, which will then be hidden along the coastline in the hope visitors attending the tournament will find them and learn more about the species.
The project will be a highlight of the second ‘Small Blue Butterfly Week’ organised by wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation Scotland, which seeks to save butterflies, moths and the environment, in conjunction with the Tayside Biodiversity Action Group.
The week takes place from from June 1 to 10, and seeks to highlight the plight of the butterfly and the work being carried out across the country to save it.
The butterfly can be seen flying from mid-May to late June but colonies are confined to small patches of grassland where kidney vetch plant grows — the only plant the caterpillars can eat.
Significant concerns about Small Blue numbers have been expressed after a 2017 survey of sites in Angus that were recorded in 1994 found more than half had been lost and there are no recent records from St Cyrus National Nature Reserve.
The pupils from Woodlands Primary School have also undertaken considerable work over the last two years to raise awareness about the Small Blue butterfly and learn more about its habitat.
This has involved learning both in the classroom and on site where they have helped to plant Kidney Vetch, providing much needed food and habitat for the butterflies.
Mr Fairweather said: “I have really enjoyed learning more about the Small Blue, and I would like to thank and congratulate the pupils, not just for the important work they have done, but also for their enthusiasm for the project.
“I would like to encourage people to take part in Small Blue Butterfly Week, and see if they can help halt the decline in numbers of this beautiful creature.”