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Take part in the great species hunt – Bristol’s BioBlitz

Press release issued: 19 May 2010

2010 is the year of Biodiversity, so why not experience the biodiversity on your doorstep? Bristol’s second ever BioBlitz is starting this week [Friday 21 May to Saturday 22 May] and everybody is welcome to join in.

Scientists, naturalists, schoolchildren, students, members of the public and community groups will be working together this week to find as many different species of wildlife as possible in Bristol’s BioBlitz at the Blaise Castle Estate. They will also try to beat last year’s result when 637 unique species had been identified.

Volunteers, including academics and students from the University of Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences and Department of Earth Sciences, will be in the 30-hour race against the clock to find and identify as many species as possible.

An interactive exhibit developed by University ecologist Dr Michael Pocock will also be on display, demonstrating for visitors how all species – including humans – are linked in a web of life. The free BioBlitz event, organised by the Bristol Natural History Consortium, will help make all visitors aware of the vital importance of biodiversity for the future of the planet.

“BioBlitz is a unique opportunity to discover what nature has to offer, right under your nose. Furthermore, the event is a great opportunity for the public to work alongside the University’s scientists”, says Philippa Bayley, Academic Liaison Officer at the University’s Centre for Public Engagement.

The Bristol event forms part of a larger National BioBlitz Programme hosted in over 18 different cities throughout the UK, in celebration of the International Year of Biodiversity.  Bristol’s BioBlitz takes place during the UN’s International Day of Biodiversity – 22 May.

Blaise Castle Estate is an ideal place to explore nature, with different kinds of woodland to discover and many rare species of flowers, birds and butterflies. The results of the BioBlitz survey should assist the estate management to protect and promote wildlife on the estate. TV presenter and nature expert Philippa Forrester and wildlife filmmaker and photographer Charlie Hamilton-James will help the team and announce the findings at 3pm on 22 May at Blaise Castle.

The Bristol Natural History Consortium will be running the BioBlitz challenge for 30 continuous hours, but the event will be open to the general public from 3pm – 9pm on Friday 21 May and 9am – 3pm on Saturday 22 May. 

In addition, there will also be the following special sessions taking place:

Lichen Walk with David Hill, lichenologist and botanist at 4:00pm on Friday 21 May

Twilight Joint Dusk Walk with Roger Moses of the Hawk and Owl Trust and David Brown of Avon Bat Group at 8:30pm on Friday 21 May

Moth Trapping with Bristol & District Moth Group at 9:30pm on Friday 21 May

Dawn Chorus Bird Walk with ornithologist Ed Drewitt at 4:30am on Saturday 22 May

Spot the Lady Bird with Dr Remy Ware, coordinator of the UK Ladybird Survey, two walks at 9:30am and 1:30pm on Saturday 22 May

Fungi Blitz with members of the North Somerset and Bristol Fungus Group at 10:30am on Saturday 22 May

Mini Beast Bug Hunt with Pete Dawson, local educational ecologist, two walks – one at 10:30am and one at 12:30pm on Saturday 22 May

These events are free of charge and open to anyone interested, but spaces are limited. People who want to take part need to sign up at the BioBlitz website:


Further information

The University of Bristol is a partner in IYB-UK, and is working with other Bristol-based organisations to highlight the vital importance of biodiversity and our leading research in this area. The University is a member of the Bristol Natural History Consortium.
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