BioBlitz 2012

BioBlitz reveals there is wildlife galore at the University

By Amita Bhakta

The University of Leicester has hosted a successful BioBlitz event within their grounds, as over 100 people took part in the search for wildlife.
Students, staff and families participated in the event, which was spread across various parts of the University including the main campus, the Attenborough Arboretum and the Blackthorn Manor site in Oadby. Over 300 species were identified during the 24 hour period. The data collected from the BioBlitz will be used to form the biodiversity action plan which could help to protect species on the University grounds.

The event kicked off on Friday evening with a bat and moth night consisting of a fascinating talk by bat experts, Karen Letten, Karl Letten and Adrian Russell, followed by a late evening walk in the area surrounding the campus and Welford Road Cemetery. Over 50 people came along to see the various different species of bat and moth which enhance the University’s biodiversity. One participant said it was “a really well organised, interesting evening”.

The focus of the BioBlitz then moved to the Attenborough Arboretum on Saturday morning as participants rose early to hear the dawn chorus of robins, bull finches, gold crests and chiffchaffs, and were also treated to a performance from a song thrush. The bird walk was a great success, despite the wet weather.

The efforts to identify the many species within the University grounds continued at Blackthorn Manor, a designated wildlife site, where 124 species of plants were identified. The Blackthorn Manor activity day was thoroughly enjoyed, with a barbeque from Picks Organic Farm and opportunities for willow weaving, wallet making using Tetra Paks and face painting. One participant commented that it “was fabulous (if a little damp!). My children really enjoyed all the activities, especially the willow weaving”.

University of Leicester’s Environmental Manager, Dr. Emma Fieldhouse, said “We were able to raise awareness about wildlife. Students, families and children participated in spite of the bad weather and we got wonderful feedback”.

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