Bristol BioBlitz

How do you get kids interested in and excited about biodiversity?

Rowan tree - BioBlitz Bristol 2009

Take them out into a rich habitat and let them catalogue everything they find! Fortunately you don’t have to go to the rain forest, one of the oldest natural parkland spaces is just south of Bristol‘s city centre at Ashton Court.

The 30 hour exercise was coordinated by the Bristol Natural History Consortium and with support from Science City Bristol and DEFRA, and working alongside the Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre (BRERC). I was really keen to see how the event was going and pick up ideas for future Science City Bristol collaborations. Sam was up for the weekend, the sun was shining, a perfect way to spend Saturday!

Officially I start as Manager of Science City Bristol on Wed (1 July) but since this was being supported by Science City, and it seemed like a really cool day out, I wanted to go along. Soon we’ll hopefully have mini-reports like this on the Science City website. Stay tuned for more info.

After a quick introductory hello with Berry Goddard (BioBlitz Programme Manager) and Savita Custead (Director, Bristol Natural History Consortium), Sam and I were teamed up with our expert & guide Richard. After a few more volunteers and spotters joined the group we set off to record some trees, plants and birds.

Hounds Tongue at BioBlitz Bristol 2009
Hounds Tongue at BioBlitz Bristol 2009

The first item of interest was a rowan tree. Apparently they aren’t usually found this far South but this one was making a start by the edge of the path. A bit further along the path we found a rare purple flower that turned out to be Hounds Tongue (we think) .

The last item of fauna foxed even our experts. Found near a dead beech tree the rather impressive fungus was found by one of the younger members of the group. We didn’t even try for a field identification. Back at Base Camp, Sam did haveĀ  look through a very thick book of fungi species, I used a simpler decision chart. Neither of us could figure out quite what was found.

Mystery funges from BioBlitz 2009
Mystery fungus from BioBlitz 2009

So we left it in the capable hands of the BioBlitz experts to sort out.

Unfortunately they were off having an ice cream so it entered the “pending” tray. Mind you, they logged over 560 different species so everyone was kept pretty busy over the 30hrs!

I thoroughly recommend checking out their blog which has loads of updates, images, facts, and the full run down on the day.

A huge thanks to everyone that helped make BioBlitz happen, especially the small army of volunteers and helpers.