Chris and students carried out pond dipping, mud and water sampling, bird calling and spotting, and insect and moth trapping to uncover what fauna can be found in the natural habitats around campus.
The BioBlitz – an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area – has demonstrated the varied wildlife and vegetation around the Brayford Pool campus. Such surveys are regularly carried out by scientists, naturalists and volunteers to help build an understanding of different species and their preferred environments.
Chris Packham led the exploration of the many different habitats hidden away on campus as part of his role as Visiting Professor at the University’s School of Life Sciences.
With a broadcasting career spanning almost 30 years, Chris is one of Britain’s best-known conservationists and is renowned as a presenter on the BBC’s popular Springwatch and Autumn watch series.
He said: “We’ve been out sweeping the grass, collecting fungi, pond dipping, spotting birds, and yet there is no end to what we could do to get a snapshot of all things living on campus. I’m delighted to give these young students the chance to really investigate the different natural habitats and microcosms which exist on campus.
“We’ve been very excited to find a water shrew, as well as a reed warbler, which should have migrated some time ago.
“Activities like pond dipping or grass sweeping can be done by anyone – you just need an alarm clock to get up early and catch these different creatures in their natural environments. What I love is the variety and new things which you can discover every time you venture out. We have dipped the pond here today, but tomorrow we could find something entirely different. I hope to enthuse more people to get out there and have a go for themselves.”
The information gathered will feed into a major national database which brings together details from similar events across the UK.