Every year our students, with support from staff and the FXU Student’s Union, lead a BioBlitz of Tremough Campus - a large scale wildlife surveying and monitoring event over a 24 hour period. The BioBlitz is held annually to collect continuous records of the species at Tremough Campus, and to keep solid contact between the campus, the community, and the local biodiversity.
There’s always lots to see and do, including:
- Guided walks of our beautiful campus
- ID stations
- Exhibitions from local conservation organisations
- Pond dipping, mammal trapping and bird ringing
- Arts and Crafts
- Bouncy Castle
History of BioBlitz
Our first ever BioBlitz in 2012 was a huge success and with the help of naturalist and broadcaster Nick Baker and members of the public the students recorded a total species count of 456. The day started with early morning handling of field voles and wood mice, followed by the main event from 10 until 4 which was filled with a variety of wildlife walks, pond dipping, stalls from organisations such as Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Natural England, and a visit from Norman the Noctule Bat. The event ended officially at midnight following a final hunt for bats and moths. On the final list of species were cave spiders, kingfishers, badgers and Cornish Elm to name just a few.
With a bouncy castle, face painting and colouring competitions, students ensured the event was family friendly in order to provide an opportunity for children to be introduced to biodiversity and give them a chance to learn about the importance of it. The Really Wild Show’s Nick Baker was a huge addition to the day and helped identify many bugs and other creepy crawlies that children found and brought back to the microscopes. With the help of Nick and other local experts children could try their hand at being wildlife detectives on the hunt for more species to add to the list that grew throughout the day.
When asked what his favourite thing was about BioBlitz events Nick Baker explained that “it’s the way of thinking, I like the discovery that goes on, not just species and biodiversity, not just the university but the community around us; biological and human as well. It’s understanding that, sharing the knowledge and opening up different networks - that for me is very exciting.”
The event organisers would like to thank all of the local businesses who supported them and helped to make this small budget event so successful.
A water shrew, a slow worm and a peregrine falcon were just some of the hundreds of species that students from the Falmouth and Exeter Students’ Union (FXU) identified at the Cornwall Campus with the help of the local community during the second annual BioBlitz.
The aim of a BioBlitz is to survey the flora and fauna in the local area, and raise awareness about the fantastic biodiversity on our doorsteps. The event was led by the Falmouth and Exeter Students’ Union’s EcoSoc society, along with local experts and student volunteers from the University of Exeter and Falmouth University.
“A BioBlitz is great because it gets the local community involved in and excited about the nature on their doorsteps,” said one of the student organisers, Jack Bedford. “Children got the chance to experience lots of different wildlife by hunting for bugs, watching birds, meeting a slow worm and a bat, and had a great time playing games and jumping around on the bouncy castle.”
Drawing upon the success of the first event, the BioBlitz extended its reach to include the local College and Argal reservoirs. This was thanks to the support of OPAL (Open Air Laboratories) and the Big Lottery Fund, who awarded EcoSoc with a grant to establish a moth-surveying project on the reservoirs, which are managed by the South West Lakes Trust.
Of the hundreds of species that were identified at College and Argal Reservoirs, participants found evidence of habitation by otters and badgers, saw a kingfisher and identified poplar hawkmoths.
"The BioBlitz allowed me to learn new things about the natural world that I didn’t know before,” explained student volunteer, Jess Cripps, who was based at Argal Reservoir throughout the day. “It’s a great way to get even closer to wildlife and see it from a different angle. My favourite part was when I got to hold a nuthatch (a small bird). This close encounter allowed me get a better understanding of the species. I also gained incredible knowledge from the relevant experts that were on hand to lead specific walks. I thoroughly enjoyed all the events that were on offer, especially learning about and getting close to moths, butterflies and bats."
FXU represents students from the University of Exeter and Falmouth University at the Cornwall Campus, which is shared and jointly managed by both institutions, as well as students at Falmouth University’s campus in Falmouth.
OPAL is an initiative which gives money to develop programmes to encourage everyone from all backgrounds and ages to get involved in nature and recording, making lasting relationships with the environment.
This year’s BioBlitz took place on Saturday 21st May 2016, from 10am-5pm.