Updated: Sep 25, 2019
Earlier in the month, myself and colleagues represented Skern Lodge at the Northam Burrows #BioBlitz!
Northam Burrows is a short walk from the front gates of Skern Lodge, at the western edge of the Taw Torridge Estuary. The ‘Burrows’ encompasses 253 hectares of coastal plain with salt marsh, sand dunes, and grasslands offering generous habitats for internationally scarce flora and fauna. Lying within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the area is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest and forms an integral part of the United Nations Biosphere Reserve – a prime site for a BioBlitz!
A BioBlitz is an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area. Groups of scientists, naturalists, students, and volunteers conduct an intensive field study over a continuous time period, which, in this case, was a timely eight hours. Events take place all over the world and at any point in a year, with the main goal of each event to promote public interest in biodiversity and citizen science.
We were invited by Catherine Oliver, Education and Interpretation Officer at North Devon Coast AONB, and were pleased to greet hundreds of excited school children from various local schools and involve them in data collection and fun activities throughout the busy eight-hour period.
In addition to completing environmental scavenger hunts, students used soil probes to explore changes in ground temperature, pH, and moisture, and utilised anemometers to record wind speed throughout the day – all data was recorded on white boards, and students were proud to add their recordings and name for all to see.
Other organisations with stands at the ‘BioBlitz Basecamp’ included the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project, Devon Wildlife Trust, and Coastwise North Devon. Each organisation had fantastic activities for students to take part in, such as mud dipping, sand dune exploration, and rock pooling.
“As hosts I want to let everyone know how much we appreciated everyone’s contribution. Everyone involved did a fantastic job and helped to put on a memorable event. The records collected on the day will help us to produce a new management plan for the site.”
Michael Day, Lead Ranger, Northam Burrows Country Park
We’re looking forward to the next one!