Can I volunteer alone? No. The protocol requires that one person handles the butterfly with two hands while the other person photographs the butterfly. If you are unable to find a partner, you are encouraged to apply for the Global Pollinators Project. The protocol does not involve catching butterflies with a net and you can implement the protocol alone.
Can I bring my dog? You are responsible for understanding if dogs are allowed on the trails to access your field site. If dogs are allowed, then use discretion since you know your dog best. If your dog eats butterflies, then the answer is no. The ultimate goal is to collect high-quality data, and if your dog interferes with that then it’s probably best not to bring your dog along. If you can collect high-quality data with your dog, go for it!
I have a super fancy camera. Can I use that instead of my phone? All project data collection must happen in iNaturalist, through your phone. This way we have location information attached to each record. If you wish to take more photos outside of the sampling time frame, you are highly encouraged to do so! Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I have to net the butterflies to photograph them? Yes. The protocol requires you to take photographs of the top and bottom sides of the wings which requires netting and handling the butterflies. If you don’t like netting and handling butterflies, consider signing up for the Global Pollinators Project.
Butterflies fly very fast. What if I can’t catch them all? Don’t worry - you won’t be able to catch them all. If you’re having trouble catching butterflies, first review the protocols then contact email@example.com for tips about catching butterflies.
I caught a butterfly but accidentally let it go. Do I still record it? No, don’t record it. Try to catch it again.
How do I make sure that I’m not catching the same butterfly? When you release a butterfly, watch which direction it flies off. There is no perfect way to avoid double catching since butterflies fly all over the place. If in doubt, catch it, photograph it and record it in iNaturalist.
Some of the scales rub off when I handle the butterfly. Does this harm the butterfly? No, this doesn’t harm the butterfly. Butterflies naturally lose scales during flight and mating. They can fly just fine when they’re missing some scales.
What if I killed a butterfly? Oops. I’m sure you didn’t mean to do that, and don’t feel bad. The species will not go extinct because you killed one individual. In fact, the butterfly most likely already mated and had a happy life. But if this happens to ALL of the butterflies you catch, there’s a problem. First review the protocols, then contact firstname.lastname@example.org for tips about how to handle butterflies.
There are so many other cool pollinators in addition to butterflies. Should I catch and photograph them too? For the one hour butterfly sampling period, don’t get distracted by other cool insects. Outside of the sampling period, feel free to take photos and upload them to iNaturalist, but NOT as part of the Adventure Scientists project page.
It’s cold/windy/snowy and there aren’t any butterflies. What do I do? If conditions are unfavorable for surveying butterflies, then record plant data and site data.
Can I keep the butterfly net? No, but you can order the net (15” white), handle (24”) and handle grip (net grip, red plastic 4-½”) from Bioquip. I’ve lost or damaged gear. What do I do? Contact email@example.com and if possible we can replace your gear or get another volunteer in your region to loan you theirs.