400 species are identified at first Cornwall Campus BioBlitz
Students from the University of Exeter and University College Falmouth at the Cornwall Campus celebrated success this Saturday at their first ever BioBlitz where they discovered and identified more than 400 different species of flora and fauna, with the help of local families.
BioBlitzes are large scale events that engage people with biodiversity. The Cornwall BioBlitz was held over a 24-hour period with the aim of finding as many species as possible and raising awareness of local biodiversity. The event was organised and run by students with help from members of staff and support from FXU, the students’ union.
The day started with the early morning tracking of field voles and wood mice, followed by the main event between 10am and 4pm. This featured a variety of wildlife walks and pond-dipping sessions during which species were gathered; stalls from organisations such as Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Natural England; and a visit from Norman the Noctule Bat. The event ended officially at midnight following a final hunt for bats and moths. The list of species recorded so far includes cave spiders, kingfishers, badgers and Cornish Elm, to name just a few.
With a bouncy castle, face painting and colouring competitions, students ensured that the event was family friendly in order to provide an opportunity for children to be introduced to biodiversity and learn about the importance of it. The involvement of The Really Wild Show’s Nick Baker was a huge attraction on the day as he helped to identify many bugs and other creepy crawlies that children found and brought back to the microscopes in Tremough House. With the help of Nick and other local experts, children could try their hand at being wildlife detectives on the hunt for ever more species to add to the list that grew throughout the day.
When asked what his favourite thing was about BioBlitzes, Nick Baker explained that “it’s the way of thinking, I like the discovery that goes on, not just species and biodiversity, not just the university campus, but the community around us; biological and human as well. It is understanding that, sharing the knowledge and opening up different networks – that for me is very exciting.”
“The final species count is yet to be confirmed, with some specimens still awaiting identification, but the total stands at over 400, which all the students and staff are thrilled about,” added Roz Evans who helped to organise the event. “We hope to run the BioBlitz annually or biannually so that we can collect continuous records of the species at the Tremough Campus, and establish regular contact between the Campus and the local community about all things biodiverse.”
“We would also like to thank all the local businesses who supported us and helped us make this event so successful. We would love to receive feedback from visitors who joined us on Saturday, so if you participated in the event, please get in touch with us or visit our website
Date: 20 June 2012