Members Lois and Jack of the Green Spaces subgroup in the Sustainability Working Group tell us more about what a Bioblitz is and about pulling plans together for a spring 2021 event
“I ran a BioBlitz during my undergrad degree at the University of Exeter on the Penryn Campus. It was a fantastic event, with students, staff, experts, and members of the local community coming together to investigate, record and enjoy the incredibly array of life found on campus. From early morning bird ringing demonstrations to late night bat detecting, it was a day packed full of amazing wildlife encounters. It was great to see local families exploring and learning about wildlife, and it was a fantastic opportunity for students to develop new skills.”– Jack Bedford MSc Conservation Biology
What is a BioBlitz?
A BioBlitz is an interactive event, which is held to record as many living species as possible within a specific area, under a short amount of time. This data is created through collecting many biological surveys carried out by scientists, the public and volunteers, providing an excellent opportunity to get the local community involved with conservation.
They can be carried out anywhere with biological life that can be surveyed. Anyone can take part, even with no experiences, making them a popular event. They have been carried out in the UK since 2006 and vary in location and size. To create a sense of working towards a goal, an event can have a set species target count, or possibly some key species to find. They often include family friendly activities to engage children and young helpers whilst biological surveys are going on, as well as offering food and drink to all involved.
You just need to bring yourself, some enthusiasm and appropriate clothing for the weather to take part.
Why run one?
A BioBlitz event it gives a snapshot of the biological contents within an area, providing data for conservation purposes, by identifying whether there are protected or vulnerable species present. It is possible there could be many more than expected which can be beneficial to know for local research purposes.
It’s an opportunity for families, professionals, enthusiasts, and local communities to interact and learn more about their natural surroundings whilst helping their community. By doing so they will feel more connected with the natural world and perhaps feel more protective over the condition of their local greenspaces. In this way it is used to communicate a message to many people and encourage nurturing behaviour when in wildlife.
“I am thrilled to be part of the team bringing the excitement of a BioBlitz to the University of Kent and can’t wait to discover the biodiversity of the Canterbury Campus!” – Jack Bedford MSc Conservation Biology
University of Kent BioBlitz 2021
The University of Kent presents a perfect location for a BioBlitz with the vast greenspaces, concentration of ecological specialists and close proximity to a city. It offers expert knowledge, biodiversity, and plenty of local people to participate.
The idea to carry out a BioBlitz was presented to the School of Anthropology and Conservation’s Sustainability Working Group, intended to be carried out in 2021. Planning began in the first term of the 2020/21 academic year, with COVID-19 and the guidelines regarding the pandemic being kept in mind during the planning process. The hope is for the event to run over one day with numerous surveying sessions scheduled throughout for all ranges of experience. It will involve collaboration between numerous local conservation and wildlife organisations, as well as the local community and students.
If possible, the event will still run as planned and it will be a wonderful opportunity to see more of the local environment and discover just how many species the campus holds. Provided this year’s event goes well, it is hoped this could be an annual event that the University holds.
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