May 23

With an office full of biologists it was only natural that given the opportunity to help out at the Bristol BioBlitz many of the ARKive team jumped at the chance to get their hands dirty and swap their computers for cameras and clipboards. BioBlitz is a national event, exploring and recording the biological diversity of an area against the clock, while getting people of all ages engaged and excited about the wonder of wildlife found so close to home.

The team of Wildscreen volunteers

The team of Wildscreen volunteers

There was an extraordinary variety of walks and events to get involved with, from bat spotting to bug hunting and pond dipping to fungal forays, and our volunteers helped with the lot – but what did being a volunteer actually involve?

Becky – Guide

Becky identifying freshwater invertebrates

Becky identifying freshwater invertebrates

I was one of the Guides for the day which involved helping out the Naturalists as they showed school children and members of the public around on various nature walks. I also had a go at pond dipping and identifying some species helping towards the BioBlitz grand total!

What was your BioBlitz highlight?

My BioBlitz highlight has got to be just the Naturalists in general! Their level of knowledge was just phenomenal yet they were approachable and incredibly entertaining! One of my favourite species, discovered while pond dipping, was the palmate newt, which I’ve never seen before.

Helen – Media Team

Helen with camera at the ready

Helen with camera at the ready

My job was to follow the groups going out and about around the grounds of Tyntesfield with a camera, to film or photograph the things they were finding. We wanted to document everything that was going on, what they were getting involved with and how much fun they were having! I was also involved with editing the film footage into the videos for the blog, and in writing blog posts to keep everyone up to date on the latest BioBlitz happenings.  

What was your BioBlitz highlight?

I got the chance to have my first ever play with the Sony Z1 camera which was very exciting! I filmed a group of school children out looking for nibbled hazelnuts in Truckle Woods. They wanted to find evidence of dormice and although we didn’t see any we came across all sorts of other exciting finds, such as the brilliantly named King Alfred’s cakes.

For a more detailed look at the role of a volunteer and to see what we got up to all weekend why not take a look at our film.

This year the Bristol BioBlitz took place at Tyntesfield from 9am on Friday 20th to 3pm Saturday 21st May. During this 30 hour stint the combined efforts of Guides, Stewards, Naturalists and the all important public led to the discovery of a record-breaking species total of 779! This included 121 notable species, (meaning that they have particular ecological significance), 25 that have never been recorded in North Somerset, and 15 species that have not been seen before in the whole of Avon – quite an achievement I hope you’ll agree.

For a full rundown of all the events of the Bristol BioBlitz, including many more videos and photographs, check out the Bristol BioBlitz blog.

Laura Sutherland, ARKive Media Researcher

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