Mick Antoniw, Assembly Member for Pontypridd joined pupils from Ysgol Ty Coch in Tonteg to get hands-on with helping to improve the fortunes of the Marsh Fritillary butterfly, a threatened species. Mick joined Roger Crookes, Ysgol Ty Coch’s horticulturalist and pupils Cian, Hannah and Iaun to plant the butterfly’s favourite host plant ‘the devils Bit Scabious’ at the nearby Dell Park.

Mick Antoniw said:

“This is a great initiative, which benefits both the endangered butterfly by increasing its habitat and the development of pupils at Ysgol Ty Coch. I always enjoy my visits to Ysgol Ty Coch and have grown accustomed to being introduced to new and exciting projects such as this. I wish the pupils and staff well with this fantastic and worthwhile initiative and thank them for leaving me a little more ‘green-fingered’ than when I arrived!”

Roger Crookes, Horticulturist, Ysgol Ty Coch said:

“The Marsh Fritillary is a beautiful butterfly in trouble, the loss of habitat and in particular its favoured host plant (the Devils Bit Scabious) has meant numbers have nosedived over the last few decades. The pupils at Ysgol Ty Coch seem to have the knack of growing the Scabious, so each year we are planting out more and more of them to help support the few remaining Marsh Fritillaries to thrive.”

Ysgol Ty Coch’s Head, David Jenkins added:

“As a school with Green Flag status we feel it is paramount to involve students and the local community in supporting our natural environment. Ysgol Ty Coch is actively involved in re-establishing the Devil’s-bit scabious plant which in turn supports the rare Marsh Fritillary butterfly. Pro-active measures are being undertaken by our students through seed collection and propagation.

“It’s great to have Mick Antoniw’s involvement in the project, which is a recognition of all the hard work staff and pupils are putting in.”