Public invited to join scientists for 24-hour farm BioBlitz
A farmland BioBlitz is being planned for the 100-acre Stantyway Farm just outside Otterton in East Devon from 4pm on Friday, June 24 to 4pm on Saturday, June 25.
A BioBlitz is an intensive biological survey which aims to record all the living species within a specific area, and offers members of the public the chance to play a key role in an important scientific study.
June’s BioBlitz is being organised by Kate Ponting, the Countryside Learning Officer for Clinton Devon Estates. She said: “This is a fantastic way for people of all ages to get out into the countryside and learn more about the many plants and animals that share this beautiful part of the world with us.
“At the same time, volunteers will be contributing to our scientific understanding of the local environment which is key to helping us with our work conserving this important and much-loved landscape.
“Volunteers will be working alongside scientists and naturalists and there will be walks and talks led by experts so they can share their knowledge.
“On the Friday afternoon there will be a bird walk, followed by moth-trapping and bat monitoring later in the evening. The Saturday will start with a dawn bird walk, followed by a number of ‘safaris’ later in the day looking for butterflies and reptiles. In the farmyard there will be wildlife stands, children’s activities and a pop-up café.
“Members of Clinton Devon Estates' farm team will be on hand to talk about the farm, show off their organic cows and machinery and will offer tractor-trailer rides to add to the fun.”
Kate added: “Stantyway Farm is currently being converted to organic status, so we’ll be studying it at a very interesting time. It will also help people to see how the land is benefiting from being part of a Countryside Stewardship Scheme, and to understand the links between farming and conservation.”
Experts in fungi, mosses, lichen and other plants, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, butterflies, moths, bees, beetles, ants, flies, grasshoppers, spiders and dragonflies will be taking part and offering their help.
Groups including the RSPB, the Devon Wildlife Trust and a range of clubs and societies from Otterton have been invited to attend.
Kate said: “Although the experts will be working round the clock, we’re not expecting the volunteers to go through the night! Apart from the specific events on Friday evening, hours for the public will be from 10am to 4pm on Saturday.”
Volunteers are also being sought to help out in the event ‘hub’ in the farmyard to enable the event to run smoothly. To find out more about taking part, either as an individual or organisation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Kate on 01395 446918.
To avoid congestion, participants are being asked to walk to the event via the South West Coast Path which runs past the farm, or to park in public spaces in Otterton. Stantyway Farm will be signposted.