Conservationists beat around the bush

Published: 10 September 2014

Conservationists beat around the bush

Scientists will be practising an unlikely conservation technique in a Paignton wood - hitting trees with big sticks!

The Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, based at Paignton Zoo, is holding a free BioBlitz – a community nature hunt – in Primley Park, Paignton, on Saturday 20th September, and tree-bashing is on the agenda.

The Trust’s UK Conservation Officer and BioBlitz organiser Tracey Hamston explained: “You bash the vegetation and catch what falls out! The idea is to shake the branches to dislodge invertebrates. A good sharp rap catches them out and they fall off the twigs and leaves. It’s as simple as that.

“You can actually buy a special fold out device to catch things, but really you can use anything, even an umbrella – preferably white though, so you can see what lands in it.

“You find different species depending on what sort of tree you beat. We’ll be beating oak, beech, blackthorn, elder and hawthorn. As scientific data collection techniques go, it’s not terribly sophisticated – but it works – it’s a standard technique as carried out by professionals – and it doesn’t harm the trees or the insects!”

Saturday’s events begin at 10.00am and are likely to include bug house building, a great green cricket hunt, beetle spotting, tree bashing and a bird walk. The day is supported by Marldon Marquees and Andy Loos.

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