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Royal Holloway's wildlife put under the microscope by pupils and student volunteers

Posted on 21/10/2010

Pupils and volunteers examine the bugs they have found

More than 70 school children from Englefield Green joined student volunteers at Royal Holloway, University of London to count and identify the vast array of wildlife on campus for a national database.

Jerome Lock, a student volunteer, led the ‘Bioblitz’ with the help of 30 other Community Action Volunteers and organised teams of pupils and staff from St Jude’s School to take part in the special field survey on Wednesday (20 October) to provide a scientific snapshot of the species living in the area. The event coincides with ‘Get Involved Week’ where students have been attending talks and trial volunteering opportunities this week to give them a taste of what is involved and how rewarding it can be.

Phil Simcock, Community Action Volunteer Manager, said: “This is the first mini BioBlitz Royal Holloway students have been involved with on campus, and it was a huge success. Our Community Action volunteers facilitated small groups of 10 year olds in pond dipping and exploring the woodland to discover a whole array of species, which they then recorded electronically and were able to look at in more detail through large magnifiers and microscopes. This initiative has proved a welcome addition to our annual Get Involved Week which encourages volunteers to find out more through attending an induction, various community partner introduction sessions, get active in the community through Make A Difference Day, and a special London 2012 volunteering presentation which is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

The year six pupils were given nets, jars and ID cards to match insects against and spent more than three hours scouring the campus for bugs, fish and creepy crawlies.

Barbara Brown, a teacher at St Jude’s Junior School, said: “We want to thank Royal Holloway for a lovely afternoon. We all thoroughly enjoyed it and would love to do it again.”

The results will be fed back and recorded to work out what wildlife is on campus and the best way to care for it as well as helping to work out endangered species and how they can be saved. 

Will Hinchliffe, National BioBlitz Officer, said: “The BioBlitz at Royal Holloway is a fantastic and fun way for students to get involved with volunteering, and discover the incredible range of life which exists on campus. Getting young people enthused about nature and conservation is vitally important in their protection, and events such as BioBlitzes during the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity provide great opportunities to do this.”





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