New project to protect the life in our undergrowth
They are the unsung stars that lurk in our undergrowth but thanks to a new project being launched by the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership invertebrates are to be celebrated – from the slimiest slug to the loveliest ladybird.
Heritage Lottery Fund backs bugs!
Cold-blooded and Spineless, which launches this month, will see a £500,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant invested into bringing these much-maligned creatures to the fore through research, education and monitoring.
Invertebrates – which includes insects, molluscs, arachnids, crustaceans and myriapods – make up 96 per cent of all animals on the planet and play a huge part in keeping the Earth’s ecosystem healthy. Between them they are responsible for the productivity of our soils, the pollination of our plants, they help with organic waste recycling and can be vital indicators of the climate and water quality.
Small but perfectly formed
Samantha Tranter, Cold-blooded and Spineless Officer at the AONB Partnership, said: “These small but perfectly formed creatures are definitely misunderstood. Lots of people squirm at the thought of a beetle, or panic if a moth gets too close, but they shouldn’t.
“There’s over 24,000 species of insect in the British Isles and some of them, such as the iridescent bloody-nosed beetle or the spectacularly pink elephant hawk moth are the best looking creatures I’ve ever encountered.”
The five-year project is being officially launched by Cllr Eddie Tomlinson, chair of the AONB Partnership, as part of a bio-hunt that is taking place at Harehope Quarry in Frosterley on March, 20th from 2pm. Wildlife lovers are being asked to turn up in force to count the range of creatures that are emerging in the North Pennines spring.
Bio-hunt will launch the project
The event is open to nature lovers of any age and events will go on until dusk in a bid to observe invertebrates like moths that appear in the evening.
At the launch, and throughout the project, Sam said she hopes people will learn to love creepy crawlies and discover their importance in our landscape.
She said: “We’ve just completed our Wildwatch project where we encouraged people to get out and about in the North Pennines to record all kinds of wildlife. Cold-blooded and Spineless is the successor to WildWatch and if we can inspire the same kind of enthusiasm and motivation with this new project, we’ll have succeeded in our aim.”
With backing from TV naturalist Nick Baker, who is a regular on Springwatch, who has agreed to be the project’s patron, and endorsement from the conservation charity Buglife, things are looking up for invertebrates.
Never squirm when you see a worm
Sam said: “We want as many people to get involved as possible. We’ll be running identification courses, asking for volunteers to part in surveys and field work and getting into local schools to educate the next generation about why they should never squirm when they see a worm.”
To find out more about Cold-blooded and Spineless, or the bio-hunt, and how you can get involves, contact Samantha Tranter on 01388 528801 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Released: 10 March 2015