20 June 2022

Furzey Gardens visitors and volunteers identified almost 200 species of plants and animals in just one day during its first annual Bioblitz on 11 June – volunteer Jane Pownall takes up the story.

The day dawned bright and sunny.

The perfect weather for a family day of fun at the Furzey bioblitz.

This was the first of such an event with the intention of getting to know the site and its wild inhabitants better.

A bioblitz is defined as “an intense period of biological surveying which attempts to record all the living species within a designated area.” This data can help to identify national trends in the welfare of our wildlife.

By the end of Furzey’s bioblitz we had found 190 species, you can download the full list of species here.

The event was launched with an early morning bird walk through the gardens. With expert help 21 different bird species were spotted before a lovely continental breakfast was served at the café.

Shortly after, staff and volunteers gathered on site to prepare for visitors and the early opening of the moth trap.

The trap had been shining all night attracting an impressive array of beautiful moths. There were moths that mimicked broken twigs and others that resembled crinkled leaves, a chance for us all to wonder at the amazing nocturnal creatures that populate our night skies.

On arrival families were invited to join the bioblitz challenge, given a clipboard to record their finds and provided with a site map.

A number of activity stations had been set up around the garden. There was a chance for an aquatic adventure, pond dipping by the lake. A minibeast hunt in the woodland and a sunny insect sweep by the Jubilee meadow. We were all impressed by the carpet of wildflowers across the new meadow and the number of insects that were found close by.

A range of different guided walks took place throughout the day. The head gardener led two splendid sessions which told the tales of many of the trees which make Furzey Gardens such a special place.

Some families enjoyed making wooden badges and others followed the fairy door trail.

All in all a good day was had by everyone. The sun shone, the children immersed themselves in nature and everyone benefitted from the tranquil, restorative atmosphere created in the gardens.

Many thanks to all the families and children that joined in with such enthusiasm and managed to spot so many living things and many thanks to all the volunteer experts who managed to identify them!

A huge thank you also goes to those who supported the event, including Alison Steele, Philip Fawkes, Pete Durnell and Marcus Ward, New Forest National Park Authority, Butterfly Conservation and the Friends of Lepe.

Our final count was 190 species! An excellent day!

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