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UEA Mini-BioBlitz

“So I’ve been off on my travels again! The University of East Anglia’s Mini BioBlitz yesterday was one with a bit of a difference. It formed a part of their larger Campus Conservation Project and concentrated on getting volunteers excited and hyped and other kinds of enthusiastic about the work that they’re  going to be doing to improve their beautiful campus. I do feel my university experience had a definite lack of lakes, something which UEA students have no worries about! They have grand plans for increasing the biodiversity of their campus and recording it and following on from yesterday will have weekly work parties venturing out completing tasks, which bring back memories for me of volunteering with the British Trust of Conservation Volunteers. A lot of which will involve, as all good conservation tasks do, chopping down lots of things.   It’s the best way to aid nature I assure you!

UEA Campus

Many thanks to Elaine and her team for another great day, and a lift back into Norwich, from where I made my slow way back Bristol, via a quick hotdog stop (being in the land of mustard obviously!) and then encountering the many dangers of the railway system, fires on the track, overhead cable thieves, all the usuals!
Next up are Mini BioBlitzes a little closer to home, so next Wednesday (20th October), get yourself over to UWE or Royal Holloway university near London for more BioBlitz related fun!”

Will Hinchliffe, National BioBlitz

 

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UEA BioBlitz

UEA Campus Conservation Project is very pleased to be part of and supported by BioBlitz 2010.  The project will start in early October 2010 and is based on the campus, lake (Broad) and surrounding river meadows of the University of East Anglia on the edge of the city of Norwich.  Participants will be drawn from the student community.

The launch event in October will include a tour of the University of East Anglia Broad and the River Yare meadows to see the biodiversity of the site and the conservation work to be undertaken.  Volunteers will be able to sign up for conservation work parties and surveying.

Over the following months students will help with wildlife surveys of the whole area (observation, identification and recording of flora and fauna). Weekly conservation work parties will be held on Wednesday afternoons and there will be weekend litter picking days with the help of local community groups.  A major feature of the project will be a new Wildlife Trail around the UEA Broad (lake) and river meadows.  There is a rich diversity of wildlife which needs to be recorded and protected.  Students will undertake the preparation and production of a waterproof and reusable guide to the Wildlife Trail with information about the biodiversity and local history of the site along with Information Boards at strategic points.  Guided tours around the trail will be provided by students on request for local school parties and the local community.

The UEA student Wildlife and Conservation Society will join with UEA Volunteers to encourage participation across the University community.

The weekly work parties will be overseen by conservation managers from the University Estates division.  The following conservation work is planned for the Autumn/Winter season

  • Coppicing shrubs and trees around the Broad
  • Coppicing wild goat willow encroaching on the fen
  • Cutting back and coppicing woodland by butterfly meadow
  • Removing detritus and windblown litter in woodland and around Broad
  • Litter picking in environmentally sensitive areas
  • Cutting back reed around river and Broad

The Wildlife Survey will be overseen be Dr Ian Barr (lecturer in Ecology) and students will undertake the following tasks to assist with a major survey of the biodiversity of the site:

  • Species specific surveys including mammals, certain common birds, bird roosts, plants, insects, fish etc.
  • Human -wildlife interactions
  • Campus usage by the public/students
  • Awareness of conservation issues on the campus
  • Computer based records organisation- a way for biodiversity records to be submitted and organised to record what people see

The project will be an enjoyable and informative experience for students to be involved with, in the care and conservation of the campus and surrounding area.  We hope the project will also bring the benefit of forming good relations between UEA students and local community who use the campus and surrounding lands for walking, fishing, bird watching and picnics.  Volunteers will develop new skills in communication, conservation and ecology, wildlife surveying and recording.  The project is also  a healthy, outdoor and sociable activity which we hope will be fun for all involved.  The funding from BioBlitz will help the project set up a Wildlife Trail and equip volunteers to undertake the conservation and wildlife surveys.