Hampshire County Council’s countryside rangers out in force with Chris Packham to protect wildlife habitats and species

Chris Packham joined Hampshire County Council’s countryside rangers and local wildlife enthusiasts today (23 July) to spot as many species as possible at Yateley Common, as part of the UK Bioblitz tour – the first independent wildlife audit of its kind in the UK, led by the TV presenter and naturalist

Jul 23 2018

bioblitz

The County Council’s Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage, Councillor Seán Woodward, said: “Chris Packham’s Bioblitz was a fantastic opportunity for people who live near Yateley Common to get excited and find out more about the protected species and other interesting wildlife on the common. It’s a very special place in the County with a number of protected species, which we hope visitors found as fascinating as we do. Lots of children and young people got involved, and engaged with the natural world, hopefully inspiring them to conserve and protect it as they grow up.

“All our rangers and volunteers across Hampshire are passionate about wildlife. At Yateley they work tirelessly to help visitors learn about the special heathland habitats that the common provides. We’re pleased to see an audit like the Bioblitz raising the profile of conservation issues that are so important to our biodiversity.”

Yateley Common is a European protected site of interest, designated for its precious heathland habitats, and its populations of European protected birds; the Nightjar, Dartford Warbler and Woodlark. The site is also important for its dragonfly populations, heathland butterflies like the Silver-Studded Blue, bees and wasps.

During 22 and 23 July, the County Council invited members of the public to come along and join in the Bioblitz on the common. The UK Bioblitz team includes hundreds of experts, species specialists, young conservationists and film makers working together to investigate the extent to which the nation’s wildlife species are under threat, and to raise money for local projects working on the conservation of wildlife habitats.

Chris Packham said: “I need to see it for myself. I need to meet the people with their fingers on the pulse of our wildlife the length and breadth of the UK, those unsung heroes, the great British naturalists who know their stuff and are making a difference. I need to get a complete first-hand experience of the natural health of the UK. I’m excited and terrified at the same time. I love learning and seeing new places and species but I fear that I will also bear witness to a landscape in huge trouble. I want to spread an awareness of the successes and failures and to raise some money to help combat the latter. And to encourage people, particularly young people to come out and see the beauty for themselves - to touch it, smell it, feel it. If just one youngster learns to love life then it will all be worthwhile. This is not a ‘last chance see’ this is a big chance to make a difference before it’s too late.”

Yateley Common is one of the beneficiaries from the money raised by the Bioblitz team, with funds supporting local wildlife conservation projects. Support them by donating here: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/chris-packham-bioblitz

Find out about the work that’s going on at Yateley Common by following @YCRangers on Twitter.

More details on Yateley Common available online.