It was a fascinating site for young eyes

RARE: The purple copper butterfly is only found in the Central Tablelands region in a few small pockets of native vegetation.

RARE: The purple copper butterfly is only found in the Central Tablelands region in a few small pockets of native vegetation.

SCHOOL students from Meadow Flat Public had a close encounter with one of the region’s rarest creatures on a field trip on Monday.

LEARNING EXPERIENCE: Students from Meadow Flat Public School had a field trip this week to learn more about the rare purple copper butterfly. ​​Photos: ALLAN WRAY

LEARNING EXPERIENCE: Students from Meadow Flat Public School had a field trip this week to learn more about the rare purple copper butterfly. ​​Photos: ALLAN WRAY

The purple copper butterfly trip was organised by Central Tablelands Local Land Services (LLS).

“September is prime time for the purple copper butterfly and we wanted to give the kids from Meadow Flat the opportunity to see this unique species in flight,” land services officer Allan Wray said.

LLS transported more than 40 students from the school to a travelling stock reserve south of Rydal, which is one of a handful of known habitat sites for the butterfly.

Ecologist Ray Mjadwesch and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Gavin Newton were the guides on the day, providing insights into the butterflies’ life.

“Our Year 3-6 class has been working on a unit about insects this term, so this was a fabulous way of extending their classroom work on science and general knowledge,” relieving principal Christine Wren said.

The students of Meadow Flat Public are so enthusiastic about the purple copper butterfly they even published a book about the rare local insect back in 2013.

“The children were very excited about getting out into the bush and doing hands-on experiments and activities on actual purple copper butterfly habitat,” Ms Wren said.

“In other schools where I’ve worked we’ve had to travel long distances to interact with the environment. One of the advantages of a rural area like Meadow Flat is that our school is so close to nature. 

“This field trip was a really lovely educational opportunity for the children to build on their knowledge of local ecology and native species.”

This year’s Meadow Flat Public purple copper butterfly excursion was funded through support from Catchment Action NSW.