18 January 2013

Young students discover that New Forest beetles are really interesting

Lyndhurst pupils at the Education Roadshow on 9th JanuaryWildlife researchers from the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) are inspiring young students from local schools in the New Forest with science and introducing them to the fascinating world of wildlife research.

The “New Forest Education Roadshow” aims to introduce students in Years 7 and 8 to the general ecology of the New Forest, particularly heathland management techniques. This is a community engagement initiative, which forms part of a scientific research project being carried out by the GWCT, in conjunction with the Natural History Museum (NHM).

The project aims to compare the effect of managed burning and vegetation cutting on biodiversity in the New Forest. Despite adverse weather conditions, it saw local volunteers join ecologists from the GWCT and NHM to carry out fieldwork over the summer months.

The Education Roadshow was first delivered to students at the New Forest Small School (NFSS) in Lyndhurst on 9th January with huge success. It taught them about the diversity of wildlife that surrounds them in the New Forest and gave an insight into the steps involved in carrying out a large scientific project. Students were given the chance to use microscopes to look at some of the specialist insects found in the Forest, allowing them to further appreciate how the National Park is home to a huge variety of important bugs, beasties and microscopic organisms.

The project is part-funded by the New Forest National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund in partnership with the Verderers of the New Forest and the National Trust and is the largest of its kind to have been carried out in the area. With five more schools yet to be visited, it is hoped that through the “New Forest Education Roadshow”, local students will be inspired with a keener interest in the area of natural beauty which is provided by the New Forest. They would also gain a better understanding of how the essential character of the New Forest is maintained through important management. In the words of one of the pupils at the NFSS as he was leaving the classroom at the end of the presentation: “Beetles are so interesting!”


Photocaption: Lyndhurst pupils at the Education Roadshow on 9th January.

Notes to editors

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.

ISDN radio broadcast line – at our Fordingbridge HQ we have an ISDN radio broadcast line, allowing us to conduct interviews remotely.

For information, contact:
Kate Williams
Telephone: 01425 651000
Email: press@gwct.org.uk

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