Join the 24-hour dash to record National Park wildlife

Published Wednesday 5 May 2010

Worm charming, seashore safaris, a bat hunt and dawn chorus discovery are all part of the New Forest National Park ‘bioblitz’ to record as many kinds of wildlife as possible in 24 hours.

The free events on Friday 21 May to Saturday 22 May celebrate the start of the International Year of Biodiversity and aim to get as many people as possible involved.

Experts from the Natural History Museum, Hampshire County Council, Forestry Commission, the Hampshire Wildlife Trust and the National Park Authority’s own tree officer, ecologist and bird expert will be among the specialists helping people of all ages to discover the Park’s wide variety of plants, fungi and animals.

The data will then be used to inform the National Park Authority’s work on how best to look after the New Forest wildlife.

The marathon wildlife bonanza kicks off at school-only event at Burley Primary School at 3pm on Friday 21 May with mini beast hunts and tree surveying.

This is followed by a host of public events - a night-time bat/moth walk, a dawn chorus discovery the following morning, a bug hunt at Bolderwood and a wealth of activities at Lepe Country Park, culminating in a grand finale at 4pm when the total number of wildlife species recorded is announced.

Booking is essential for the bat hunt and dawn chorus walk but everyone is welcome to turn up to the Bolderwood and Lepe events.

Event details are on the Bioblitz blog, which will be updated live during the 24-hour event at: http://bioblitzthepark.blogspot.com.

Ian Barker, the New Forest National Park Authority’s Ecologist, said: ‘The New Forest National Park has a higher concentration of sites of national or international importance for nature conservation than any other English national park. We have 61 square miles of heathland – a habitat which is rarer globally than rainforest - and around 700 species of wildflowers are said to grow in here – nearly a third of the total found in Britain.

‘These are just a few of the reasons why we’re Bioblitzing the Park – there is such an abundance of wildlife here and there are still large gaps in our knowledge. We’d like everyone to join us to discover more.’

People unable to attend the events themselves can follow the discoveries live from the bioblitz blog: http://bioblitzthepark.blogspot.com.

-ends-

Media Contact:
Hilary Makin, Communications Manager, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646608
Email: hilary.makin@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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