The Great British Bee Count

Photo credit: Amanda Colbran

Photo credit: Amanda Colbran

It’s not too late if you want to take part in the Great British Bee Count

From Friends of the Earth: “Insects play a vital role in keeping our ecosystems healthy. Amongst other things, they break down organic matter and enrich our soil, and provide food for larger animals in the food chain.

Bees – and other pollinating insects – are also essential in pollinating all sorts of plants, including many of our food crops. Their numbers have declined drastically in the last 60 years, and The Bee Cause campaign has highlighted how we can help them.”

Click on the link below to find out some amazing insect facts, and to join the bee count:

http://www.foe.co.uk/living/articles/10-amazing-facts-about-insects

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Citizen Science – get involved in our upcoming activities – bats, bioblitz and reptiles

We are planning our upcoming activities for June, July, and August. All have a citizen science theme – have a look at the five minute video which explains what citizen science is. Orchard Park Wildlife Project offers an opportunity to get involved in citizen science practically and on your doorstep. We are planning to collaborate with Transition Cambridge for these summer events. Keep an eye on the blog, Facebook page and @opwildlife twitter feed for date and time details once they’re determined.

In June, why not come along to the Wildlife Area to learn about local bat species, use a bat detector, and help us to determine whether the bat boxes there are being used? We’d like people to bring their cameras to film the boxes at dusk when the bats come out to feed – if you have a camera with a zoom that would be great. Then the citizen science part: take your footage home to watch in slow motion and let us know if you saw bats leaving or entering the bat boxes. We’ll provide detailed instructions nearer the time and on the night. If you don’t have a camera or computer, that’s not a problem, I’ll bring a couple of spare cameras and we can watch the footage.

In July we’d like to do a mini bioblitz – the video explains what this is – on a selected site at Orchard Park, perhaps at the area where the self build houses are planned.

In August, we’re planning a reptile survey in the Topper St area to determine if we have reptiles there, and if so what types.

We hope some of these activities will appeal to you. It would be great if these events are successful as a one off, but even better if we can arrange them to be ongoing for longer term monitoring purposes. All information collected will be sent to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Environmental Records Centre (CPERC) which collates, manages and stores data that describe biodiversity in our local area.

Let’s ensure we do as much as we can to help OP’s wildlife

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Since the election results I’ve been feeling increased concern for the environment, and wildlife (amongst a whole host of other things). Let’s ensure OP remains as green and pleasant for people and wildlife as possible. Just 30 mins of your time once a month can make a difference, we will be posting details of upcoming activities soon.

It’s Hedgehog Awareness Week

Photo credit: Charlie via Willow Hedgehog Trust

Photo credit: Charlie via Willow Hedgehog Trust

It’s hedgehog awareness week. I’ve still not seen one in Orchard Park but have had plenty of sightings reported. If you see an injured one use the simple information above to help. According to BBC Earth there were 30 million hedgehogs in the UK in the 1950s, today there could be as few as 1 million. They need all the help they can get.

For more info on helping hedgehogs see: http://tinyurl.com/hedgehoghelp