Nongame Program Seeking Citizen Science Volunteers
Track Butterflies for Conservation Research
New Hampshire Fish and Game is seeking volunteers to count and identify butterflies across New Hampshire. Sightings will provide valuable data on how species ranges are changing over time. Your data can help support conservation of at-risk butterfly species.
Did You Know?
- New Hampshire has over 130 documented butterfly species
- Adults of different species can be seen during different seasons
- Long-term monitoring can identify species that need conservation action
- Threats include loss of habitat, climate change and pesticide use
- Volunteers may find new species arriving in the state as our climate warms
It's easy to start contributing data. Download iNaturalist and eButterfly apps to record sightings in local areas, parks, or even your own backyard! eButterfly also lets you build a species list to record sightings over time.
Stay Tuned for Updates
The Butterfly Monitoring Network is an ongoing volunteer project to collect long-term data on butterfly species. Volunteers can get further involved by attending upcoming trainings or joining a North American Butterfly Association (NABA) point count.
NH Butterfly Monitoring Network Offerings 2023
Statewide Trainings via Zoom – Four part series will kick off in February with our partners from across the state.
February 22 – Mark Ellingwood
March 8 – George Dewolf
March 22 – Heidi Holman
April 5 – Rick Van de Poll
Join us this winter to learn about NH butterflies! Spend time with other enthusiasts that are preparing to assist with citizen science efforts in 2023. A four part Zoom series will begin on February 22 with presenter Mark Ellingwood who will share some basic information on butterfly biology and introduce us to a few of the larger more common species you may see in your neighborhood. On March 8 George DeWolf will explore the world of hairstreaks and blue butterflies, March 22 Heidi Holman will dive into the orange and black butterflies such as the fritillaries and checkerspots. The final part of the series on April 5, Rick Van de Poll will wrap up with some of the more challenging species including the browns and skippers. During the series you will find out about future field days offered in your area, including a July Butterfly Count that will occur at 6 locations across the state! This series will provide you with an eye-opening experience to connect with species you may not have noticed in the past – as soon as the world begins to green up this spring! No matter what your skill level is, you’re welcome. Together we’ll work to keep track of the beautiful butterflies of New Hampshire.”
Planned trainings include:
- Lake Sunapee Area – in collaboration with Ausbon Sargent, meetings held at the New London Town Library starting January 19th every third Thursday of the month.
Thursday, April 27th @5:30pm, Butterfly Basics: – Harris Center for Conservation Education: This 1 hour Zoom presentation is intended for beginning butterfly enthusiasts and will introduce participants to basic butterfly biology, New Hampshire citizen science opportunities, and the identification and life history of ~10 common butterflies in the Monadnock Region. – Presenters: Mark Ellingwood and Susi Spikol
Wednesday, April 19th @6:30pm, Introduction to NH Butterflies: You might be surprised to learn that if you travel the length of the state from spring to fall, you can potentially spot more than 100 species of butterflies. During this 1.5 hour online (Zoom) presentation we’ll set you on a course to learn more about these beautiful creatures, what distinguishes them from moths, how they’re organized into butterfly families, photos of our most common species, and how you can become more involved in fostering their protection. Presenter: George DeWolf. THIS COURSE IS FULL
Wednesday, May 17th, @6:30pm, Tips for Identification of NH Butterflies: There are a number of butterflies in our state that confound even the experts when it comes to identifying the species. During this 1.5 hour online (Zoom) presentation we’ll cover some difficult to very difficult identifications (e.g. distinguishing a Monarch from a Viceroy, an Eastern Tiger from a Canadian Tiger Swallowtail, an Eyed Brown from an Appalachian Brown, and many other tough ids). This presentation will not cover the often perplexing skippers, which will be covered in the The Confusing Skippers of NH presentation in June. Presenter: George DeWolf. THIS COURSE IS FULL
Wednesday, June 14th, @6:30pm, The Confusing Skippers of NH: Nearly every order in nature has its confusing groups of species…for birds it's the fall warblers, for ferns it's the wood ferns...and so it is with a family of small butterflies with stout bodies commonly known as the Skippers. During this hour long online (Zoom) presentation we’ll cover a number of the commonly seen skippers in our state and how to distinguish them. Presenter: George DeWolf. THIS COURSE IS FULL
Half day trainings – Have a few hours and want to learn something new? Join us for an introduction to 20 common butterfly species observed in NH. After a short training, we’ll spend time outside butterfly watching and leave with next steps on how to report your sightings throughout the season to help track their populations. Presenter: Heidi Holman
- May 31, 1-4 pm. Stonewall Farm, Keene, NH – in collaboration with our partners from Cheshire County Conservation District and NRCS.
- May 20, 9:00 - Noon. Great Bay Discovery Center
Field Days – Meet up with others to practice ID! Check out Nature Groupie and Partner websites for more information.
- May 13 – Harris Center for Conservation Education 11 am – 1pm
- May 18 - New Hampshire Audubon McLane Center, Concord NH – Field Day led by Mike Thomas
- May 20 – Lake Sunapee Butterfly Club - Spring Count Date / Field Training for newcomers (Rain Date 21st). Meet at the Hay Estate/Fells, Newbury
- June 3 – New Hampshire Audubon McLane Center, Concord NH- Training Day for July Count 10am – noon
- June 15 – Concord Pine Barrens field trip – Led by NH Audubon and Mike Thomas
- June 17 – Harris Center for Conservation Education 11am – 1pm
- June 17 – Lake Sunapee Butterfly Club - PEAK Count Date / Field Training for newcomer (Rain Date 18th). Meet at Mount Sunapee State Park
- June 24 – Tin Mountain Conservation Center – Training Day for July Count 10am - noon
NABA Point Counts
The North American Butterfly Association (NABA) conducts annual surveys to collect data on butterfly species across North America. These surveys provide insight into how habitat and weather changes affect butterfly populations.
NABA surveys require four or more volunteers to collect data within a 15-mile radius between 10 am-3 pm. You can learn more at: https://www.naba.org/butter_counts.html
Fourth of July Count Dates
- July 8 – Baker Pond – contact email@example.com
- July 15 – Lake Sunapee – Meet at the Ausbon Sargent Land Trust Office at 9am. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org – Great Bay – Meet the Great Bay Discovery Center at 9am. Contact Heidi.email@example.com
- July 22 – Conway – Meet at the Tin Mountain Conservation Center at 9am. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org – Super Sanctuary - Contact email@example.com
- July 29 – Capital Area - Meet at McLane Audubon Center at 9am. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions? Contact Heidi Holman at Heidi.email@example.com or (603)-271-3018