Exeter Cathedral is to host a public wildlife search on its historic Green this summer, as part of a wider initiate to involve more people in the task of recording species to monitor biodiversity.
The ‘BioBlitz’ concept has been led by a partnership of organisations including Bristol Natural History Consortium, the Natural History Museum, the Stockholm Environment Institute (York) and the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. The ‘BioBlitz’ initiative aims to bring together scientists, students and members of the public to gather a snapshot of the variety of life that can be found in an area.
Funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Exeter Cathedral’s BioBlitz will take place on Friday 21 and Saturday 22 July, in partnership with the Devon Wildlife Trust charity. Organisers at the cathedral, hope to attract people of all ages, as Lis Spencer, Community Outreach and Partnerships Officer at the Cathedral explains:
“We are excited to welcome our local communities to come and help us identify as many species as possible around the cathedral’s green spaces. We are working with a range of partner organisations to bring something for everyone to this event – including Exeter Science Centre, Double Elephant Print Workshop and Exeter Seedbank – all helping to engage visitors with the nature around them.”
Emily Spraggon, Nature Recovery Officer at Devon Wildlife Trust, is excited to be part of the cathedral’s first BioBlitz:
“A Bioblitz is a fantastic way to find extraordinary wildlife in unexpected places. This is a great opportunity to find out what plants and animals can be found right in the heart of Exeter and contribute to helping wildlife thrive in the city centre.”
A variety of activities will be available for both children and adults, including nature walks, wildlife identification, nature-themed art activities, wildflower sales, virtual reality experiences and an interactive show with environmental themes.
Data collected from the BioBlitz will be used to monitor and improve biodiversity within the Exeter Cathedral grounds, and statistics will be sent to the Devon Biodiversity Records.
The BioBlitz is one of the several events planned as part of Exeter Cathedral’s 2020s Development Appeal Project, which aims to engage communities with their local heritage. The calendar of community activities is taking place alongside major building conservation and improvement projects, which are designed to make the ancient Devon landmark more accessible, sustainable and inclusive for future generations.