Castlewellan Forest Park Bioblitz Welcomes Wildlife Enthusiasts
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is holding a ‘Bioblitz’ at Castlewellan Forest Park, as part of a National Lottery Heritage funded project, from 6pm on Friday 14 June to 6pm Saturday 15 June—and all wildlife and nature enthusiasts are invited to take part.
The event comes after a 2018 Council commissioned biodiversity audit of the Forest Park that demonstrated that it is home to six European protected species, 27 Northern Ireland protected species, 39 priority species and the lake, which is an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI). The Bioblitz follows on from the report as there is still more to be discovered and investigated.
A Bioblitz is an exciting race against the clock. Over a 24-hour period, scientists, naturalists and members of the public work together to find and identify as many species as possible within a defined location. Not only is a Bioblitz great fun but it also collects useful biodiversity information which can help the Council to develop a plan to conserve and develop the wildlife in the Park.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Charlie Casey said, “The Bioblitz gives us the opportunity to further highlight the importance of biodiversity in Castlewellan Forest Park. The data collected and recorded will significantly improve our knowledge about the wide range of species that live there.”
As part of the Bioblitz, the public are invited to take part in a number of activities, starting at the Grange, with a bat talk and nocturnal walk beginning at 8pm on Friday with the Northern Ireland Bat Group.
On Saturday morning, the day starts at 9.30am with local moth expert Andy Crory to discover what moths have been caught overnight. Dot Blakely will then take enthusiasts on a ramble around the Park looking for the wonderful birds that call the Park their home. Tree lovers can join the volunteers from Arboretum Regeneration Castlewellan (ARC) on Saturday afternoon at 2pm at the entrance to the beautiful Annesley Garden for a guided tour. The final event at 3pm, is for the youngest naturalists who can join Ulster Wildlife’s, Shanna Rice on a mini-beast hunt.
If you are a wildlife expert or a keen amateur and know your moths from your butterflies or your vetches from your sedges, then come along and help record the Park’s flora and fauna. If you just want to learn more, then come and take part in the events. All events are free.
For more information please contact the Council’s Biodiversity Officer on 0300 013 22 33.