Community rallies to the call of the wild

A community ranger gets a helping hand to identify bugs in Elba Park from two young volunteers.
A community ranger gets a helping hand to identify bugs in Elba Park from two young volunteers.
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Wearsiders answered the call of the wild to help chart and record the plant and wildlife that have made a Sunderland park their home.

Groundwork North East and Cumbria invited members of the community, school pupils, wildlife amateurs and professionals to Elba Park to take part in an innovative BioBlitz event on Friday, June 19.

The event was organised to chart and record all the species found in the park over a 24-hour period.

This is only the second event of its kind at Elba Park and since the last survey, three years ago, even more species have been found.

Senior Community Ranger Andrea Baxter said: “This was a really exciting event as it enabled us to record vital information about the different plants and animals that have made Elba Park their home.

“The findings were then fed into the National Biodiversity Database so the data found at this event will help influence national trends.”

People were invited to go along to the event to take part in set activities such as pond dipping and bird and bat walks, and there were also opportunities to volunteer on the day.

Volunteers could drop in to base camp to collect ID guides and walk around the park recording species at their leisure.

The BioBlitz was part of the wider project – Biodiver-city, a project aiming to increase species at Elba Park.

Funding for this project was secured after a huge fundraising campaign last summer, which saw Elba Park unlock a £20,000 treasure chest of cash, enabling Groundwork North East and Cumbria to create a variety of habitats for at risk local species.

This month had been a really successful month for Elba already with the park winning site of the year at the Land Trust’s annual managing agent’s conference.

Elba fought off competition from almost 60 other sites nationally to win to the award, as well as being nominated for six out of the seven categories up for grabs.

Park Ranger Andrea Baxter said: “It has been a realty exciting month and we are just gearing up for our summer event which will be taking place on Saturday, July 18, from 11am to 3pm.

“There will be activities ranging from a craft fair and market to live music and activities for children.”

For further information about this event or any other activities taking place, contact Andrea Baxter on 0758 777 8452 or email at andrea.baxter@groundwork.org.uk.