By Mary Shotter, Biology technician
Over the past few weeks, in collaboration with a group of Block 3 Outdoor Work students and the Sustainability Group, we have begun the huge task of cataloguing the school’s biodiversity.
We started with the Lake, where we discovered 28 different species of freshwater animals, including water boatmen, dragonfly and damselfly nymphs, whirlgig beetles and flatworms. A walk around the centre of the site revealed 38 species of tree and 19 birds, such as the green woodpecker and nuthatch. The use of a moth trap also showed there were 14 moth species in the wildlife garden behind the Science department, which is remarkable, considering it is late in the year.
The weather this autumn has also been perfect for mushrooms and toadstools – on a visit to the Sand Quarry, we found 23 types of fungi we could identify, and many more we couldn’t!
So far we have only scratched the surface of the numerous species that are to be found in the varied habitats of the Bedales Estate, but in time, when we have built up a clearer picture of the plants and animals present, the information gathered can be used to track changes in populations and see if grounds management policies – such as leaving the grass long over the summer months – are having a positive impact on biodiversity.
Next year the group will be looking at bats, mammal tracks and how different flower colours and types affect insect numbers, but in the meantime, if you spot any interesting plant or animal life while you are walking around Bedales, please send your sightings (with a photo if possible) to email@example.com. Many thanks.