University plans free BioBlitz event at Pittville Park

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 Join the race to find as much wildlife as you can, as the university brings this year’s BioBlitz to Pittville Park as part of the Cheltenham Science Festival (8 – 9 June).

Published: 21/05/2018 14:25

​Join the race to find as much wildlife as you can, as the university brings this year’s BioBlitz to Pittville Park as part of the Cheltenham Science Festival (8 – 9 June).

Become an explorer for the day and take part in this biological event, recording all the living species you find in the park. Members of the public are encouraged to team up with the scientists and naturalists who will be conducting the intensive field study to find out what wildlife lives inside one of Cheltenham’s most beautiful parks.

The event is being run by a team of university students, led by first-year Simon Loughran and Senior Lecturer in biology Dr Richard Rolfe. They were invited by Cheltenham Borough Council to organise the BioBlitz in collaboration with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and Gloucestershire Centre for Environmental Records.

This will be the second BioBlitz to take place in the town as the university, together with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, ran the first survey event in Cheltenham at the Park campus in 2015. Together with volunteers from local wildlife groups, and over 30 university students, they recorded over 500 species, including several species of interest previously not recorded within Cheltenham.

Simon Loughran, who is studying BSc (Hons) Animal Biology at the university, said:
“The student committee and volunteers are all very excited about the BioBlitz. It's an excellent opportunity for us to apply our skills in a very practical way while gaining experience working with experts and engaging with the local community. We're really keen for the event to be something everybody can get involved with”.

Dr Richard Rolfe, Senior Lecturer in Biology at the university, said:
“Our last BioBlitz was a big success. It allowed our students to work alongside expert naturalists and gain valuable field skills. Students also worked hand-in-hand with members of the public helping them explore the wildlife found on our campus. This event is shaping up to be a bigger event and it will showcase the skills of our students".

Janice Payne, Community Ranger, CBC said:
 “Pittville park has very little data on species recorded in the area therefore carrying out this Bioblitz with will increase the species list. I have carried out surveys with past students and we tripled the list of beetles. After the surveys are completed we are hoping to have the results available for members of the public to view and it would be great if they could continue to contribute with their sightings".

Councillor Chris Coleman, member for clean and green, said:
“I am delighted that the University, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and the public can help the council to record the variety of wildlife in Pittville park. By having these records it will be easier to help provide a richer environment for the wildlife that occupies our award winning park. I hope many residents and visitors will enjoy the variety of opportunities to get involved throughout the BioBlitz".

Members of the public are encouraged to attend regardless of their experience or skillset. People can register for these free events using the website, or just drop-in on the day.