Intense cynefin

A very interesting review in todays Guardian by Richard Mabey of Patrick Barkham’s new book “The Butterfly Isles: A Summer in search of our Emperors and Admirals“.

Patrick set out in 2009 to see all the native butterflies of Great Britain in a single summer.

Occasionally articles come along that just ooze serendipity and coincidences  and this is one of those.

Patrick’s first butterfly memory is that of the Brown Argus, the very same species I chose to illustrate my story based talks about working in Natural England, to illustrate the complexity of relationships between species, habitat and underlying geology and how conservation and by inference knowledge management needs to be a ‘whole system’ approach.

I am relatively newly hooked to this butterfly spotting compulsive disorder and so was quite surprised that we only have 59 native species remaining in Britain. During the Summer when I spent 8 days in Slovenia with my friends David, Joanna and James, between us we spotted 74 different species.  Complete list, dates, latin names and locations here.

What really caught my eye in this article was the introduction the term we all know and love, ‘cynefin’ by Matthew Oates of the National Trust. Defined here as ‘ a place of personal belonging’, I just love this quote:

Butterflies have intense cynefin, which is why they are so vulnerable to change.

Read the end of the article as soon as it is published on-line here, for a very thought provoking end to the article and the presumably the book.

In a week in which the already battered and bruised Natural England were relieved to be told that they were now to face ‘substantial reform’ I cannot help but think that English Nature and all its wonderfully knowledgeable staff also brought some ‘intense cynefin’ to the party.


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