IMPORTANT EVENT UPDATE: Family Science Fair has been postponed until further notice. If you have any questions please contact us directly.
This year, admittance to the Family Science Fair on 15 March will be by ticket only.
Tickets are FREE and can be obtained by going to the Dorchester Tourist Information Centre in person to collect (this is located in the Dorchester Library, Charles Street, DT1 1EE).
There will be 2 time slots available – from 1pm-3pm and from 3pm-5pm.
Tickets will be available from 15 Feb on a first come first served basis – keep an eye on here for updates!
In addition, the bug and exotic animal handling activity with World-Life will also require a ticket – which can be obtained when you collect a ticket for the Family Science Fair.
Due to high demand for this event we sincerely ask that if you collect a ticket but then are unable to go, that you return it to the Tourist Information Centre or pass it onto someone who is able to attend.
You will need your ticket on the day, to be admitted to the Family Science Fair.
We look forward to seeing you on the day – and have some brilliant activities lined up for you!
Bringing together conservation organisations and local business
The interest in the future of our wildlife and related environmental issues is driving a great deal of behavioural changes, for example 72% of miliennials are willing to spend more on products from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact. In the US, those companies whose employees were given time to undertake charitable environmental work, found that 76% of staff felt better about their employers.
It is no wonder then, that businesses are working to adopt green credentials, visible to both their customer base and their employees, in order to drive success.
Through networking and showcasing, delegates at this conference, will explore problems for local wildlife conservation. There will be a focus on local case studies, and opportunities to seek new collaborations and find potential solutions.
This years key speakers, Dr Anjana Khatwa and Ben Hoare, will address one of the most important resources within any sector – the workforce, and principally the issue of societal representation in the conservation sector.
This conference will therefore look at two strands:
Encouraging links between conservation organisations and business to encourage partnerships and the provision of support/resources in the mutual interest of preserving the local environment
Employability, skills and diversity within the conservation sector (in Dorset)
The Importance of Wildlife Conservation in Dorset
Professor Rick Stafford – Bournemouth University
The Future Workforce: The Impact of Work Placements
Julie Gill, Placement Coordinator – Bournemouth University
Frances Jenkins, Placement Coordinator – Kingston Maurward College
Case Study, Short Film: Hengistbury Head Placement Scheme
Does Nature Conservation Represent Society
Key Speaker: Ben Hoare, Editorial Consultant, BBC Wildlife Magazine
Privilege and Permission: Being Brown in a White Landscape
Key Speaker: Dr Anjana Khatwa, Learning and Earth Science Specialist
Go Wild – Collaborate!
Introduction by Luke Rake, Principal and CEO of Kingston Maurward College
Nature Volunteers: Matching opportunities with resources
Rachel James, Wild Paths, Dorset Wildlife Trust
Ali Tuckey, Durlston Country Park
Puff Storey, 3 Sided Cube, Tech For Good
Lottie Forte J.P. Morgan, Volunteering and Community Relations
Guest Speaker Panel Q&A
Networking Opportunity and Buffet
A full programme will be published to attendees nearer the conference
Please arrive at 13:00 for a prompt 13:15 start
Refreshments and a buffet dinner will be provided
Pre-booking of parking is required and once the spaces have been booked, no further parking on campus will be available.
Accommodation: The University has preferential rates with a number of local hotels, please quote Bournemouth University when booking to access these rates. (Preferential rates are subject to availability and will be advised by the hotel at the time of booking)
Please note that before placing an order, you will be asked to agree to Bournemouth University’s terms and conditions (see below). Please read these terms carefully and make sure you understand them before ordering any Products.
‘Snakes in the Heather’ is a new and exciting ARC project which has been awarded support from the National Lottery. The project aims to conserve Britain’s rarest reptile, the smooth snake, by bringing together key partners including Amphibian and Reptile Groups, Wildlife Trusts and other non-governmental and governmental organisations.
Over the past two centuries there has been an extensive decline in the smooth snake’s primary habitat, lowland heathland. The species is now only found on the heaths of Dorset, Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex, with a special introduction site in Devon. It is a very secretive creature, choosing to bask within heather vegetation and burrowing out of sight. For this reason, its ecology, behaviour and distribution have been difficult to study and therefore its status and conservation needs are poorly understood.
The £412,000 National Lottery Heritage Fund grant will develop partnerships between organisations and community volunteers, and harmonize conservation efforts across southern England.
The project will raise awareness and “ownership” of reptiles among local communities through the media and events, greater community awareness of smooth snakes as a unique component of our biological heritage. We will use a “citizen science” approach to help us conserve the smooth snake by training new and existing volunteers to carry out targeted reptile surveys. This will provide valuable data to better understand the smooth snake’s needs in order to support and inform conservation decisions. Volunteers will also carry out practical tasks to improve the species’ heathland habitats across Southern England.
The project’s legacy will ensure better managed, more resilient smooth snake populations through a greater, shared understanding of the conservation needs of the species.
The project will build on the strong local partnerships that are already in place and runs until 2023.
For more information on Snakes in the Heather contact:
A recent assessment of cricket and grasshopper species in Europe has shown that up to 25% are facing extinction. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the group Orthoptera, which includes Grasshoppers, Crickets and Bush Crickets, is the most threatened group assessed so far. An estimated 1000 species of Crickets and Grasshoppers are found in Europe. They play a vital role in grassland ecosystems; many species of birds and reptiles feed on them. The main factor contributing to decline is habitat loss due to wildfires, tourism and intensive farming. Many species are confined to small areas due to the break up of their natural habitats; for example the Crau Plain Grasshopper has been confined to the steppes on Southern France.
So what can be done in order to protect these insects? According to research from the IUCN Global Species Programme, more effort must be put into restoring the habitats of these insects in order to increase population size. This can be achieved using sustainable grassland management by employing traditional agricultural practices. It is imperative that these insects are saved from extinction, not only because they are very important biodiversity indicators, but also they are an integral part of grassland ecosystems.
The Common Bittern, Botaurus stellaris, a shy, secretive relative of the heron, was once extinct in the UK, however the bird has made a massive comeback over the years. Bittern numbers are now at their highest recorded numbers in the UK.
The bittern lives mostly in reed beds and is rarely seen due to the superbly camouflaged streaked plumage, which blends perfectly with the environment. However, the male’s booming call can be used to identify the presence of bitterns, and so researchers have been able to count these birds.
This year, the breeding population has been at it’s highest since the 1800s, with 140 singing males seen, compared to 11 in 1997. Somerset has the largest bittern population, with 20 males located at Ham Wall nature reserve,
According to the RSPB, one factor contributing to UK population increase in bitterns is due to restoration of quarries, which has helped bitterns to thrive. The bittern is still on the RSPB’s red list, but the development of these restored quarries is expected to increase the UK’S bittern population in the future.
According to an annual UK wildlife survey carried out by the BBC Gardener’s World Magazine, there has been a decline in hedgehog sightings across the country. 51 percent of the 2600 participants did not see any hedgehogs in 2016, compared to 48 percent in 2014. The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) stated that one of the major components contributing towards hedgehog decline in the UK is habitat loss and fragmentation, an ever increasing problem in urban environments.
So, what can be done to save the hedgehog? There are several actions people can take to help hedgehogs thrive again. Creating a wild corner in the garden, letting grass grow tall and encouraging the growth of native plants such as Meadow Foxtail, Cock’s-foot and Ox Eye Daisy will encourage insect life and with it hedgehogs. Breaking down barriers presented by gardens by making small holes at the bottom of fences helps hedgehogs to travel in between gardens, and leaving extra food such as meat-based pet food, mealworms or raisins will encourage hedgehogs, and this is particularly important during cold winter months when invertebrate prey is scarce.
Scientists investigating the effect of exotic plant species on native plant biodiversity on the island of Mahe in the Seychelles have found that ecosystem restoration by removal of exotic plant species is linked to an increase number of pollinating species such as bees, butterflies and birds and an increase in flowering of native flora.
Eight study sites on Mahe’s mountains were monitored for a period of eight months, with non-native plant species being removed from four sites. Native plant species were found to be flowering more frequently and attracting more pollinators. An increase in the number of pollinator species was also observed 6-12 months after the removal of exotic species, including bees, wasps, flies, beetles, moths, birds and lizards.
The research from Mahe mountaintops gives us a clear demonstration of the role of ecosystem restoration in pollination and interaction between plants and animals, and that ecosystem degradation is, at least partially, a reversible process.
My research at Bournemouth University has focused on the impacts of human and wildlife conflicts, with response to how these could be mitigated and appropriately managed. As part of my post graduate studies, I carried out an 8-week wildlife research conservation internship with GVI South Africa, Limpopo. This is a charitable organisation that focuses largely on conservation within a game reserve. This opportunity allowed me to broaden my horizons within the conservation sector and enable me to develop direct research experience within the field.
Working closely with a team of dedicated conservationists within the South African bushveld, I partook in conducting valuable research on the wildlife dynamics of a relatively small game reserve. This involved developing tracking skills, where dominant predators were tracked using radio telemetry, to develop a better understanding of the movement patterns of the animals and in turn aiding with the management of the area. Vital behavioural data was collected daily with emphasis on predator and herbivore species presence and interactions, so that a better understanding of the animals could be achieved. Additionally, there was focus on reserve management to ensure that the reserve is maintained to the best standard.
This internship utilised established training methods, where predominant telemetry skills were initially developed, and a subsequent focus on tracking and signing within the bushveld was explored. These significant skills were established so that a holistic approach to conservation can be achieved, with a sustainable and long term emphasis. Scats and tracks were identified, where we were tested on various parameters, including individual and group species movements, when they were last seen in the area, and any prominent indications of directions. Furthermore, key bird identification skills were practised on a regular basis
There was also a strong focus on community engagement projects, with the aim of encouraging and teaching local school children about the significance of conservation within the community and local area. By doing this, we aimed to encourage local people to have a better understanding of the value and importance of biodiversity within their country.
This experience has enabled me to develop key skills that are applicable to my academic studies, encouraging me to further explore the research skills and aid with professional development, emphasising on scientific output. Working as an intern, I have been exposed to broader global research working with industry professionals and an insight to the vital ongoing conservation work within this region.
You can find out more about this program by following this link, and get involved with this unforgettable experience.
The New Forest is widely recognised to be of international importance for wildlife. At the same time, the ecosystems of the New Forest provide many benefits to people, including recreation, rearing of livestock, timber production and clean water. This system has always been dynamic, and in many ways it has been resilient to environmental change. But how is the Forest changing at the moment? And how might it change in future, given current concerns about climate change? This conference will explore these issues, by presenting the results of recent research into the ecology and dynamics of the New Forest, focusing both on wildlife and the benefits provided by ecosystems to people, and the impacts of climate change. The afternoon session will include a discussion panel that will reflect on the papers presented, in which attendees are encouraged to participate.
Date: Thursday 25 October 2016
Time: 9.30am – 5pm
Venue: Lyndhurst Community Centre, Lyndhurst, SO43 7NY
If you would like to register for this conference please follow this link. The deadline for registration is the 12th October 2016.
The provisional programme for the day is as follows:
09:30 – 10:30 Registration (with refreshments)
10:30 – 10:40 Welcome from New Forest Centre & New Forest Knowledge project
10:40 – 13:00 Session 1
10:40 – 11:00 Prof. Adrian Newton, Bournemouth University: “Impacts of environmental change on New Forest woodlands”
11:00 – 11:20 Paul Evans, Bournemouth University: “Ecological implications of beech dieback in the New Forest”
11:20 – 11:40 Dr Elena Cantarello, Bournemouth University: “Resilience of New Forest woodlands to disturbance”
11:40 – 12:00 Arjan Gosal, Bournemouth University: “Dynamics of ecosystem services in the New Forest”
12:00 – 12:20 Alexander Lovegrove, Bournemouth University: “Is condition assessment suitable for adaptive management? Results from New Forest bogs and heaths”
12:20 – 12:40 Dr Becky Spake, University of Southampton: “Similar biodiversity of ectomycorrhizal fungi in ancient and inclosure woodlands”
12:40 – 13:00 Discussion
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch break
14:00 – 15:50 Session 2
14:00 – 14:20 Prof. Russell Wynn and Marcus Ward, Wild New Forest: “Winners and losers: monitoring the changing fauna of the New Forest”
14:20 – 14:40 Dr Duncan Ray, Forest Research: “Projected impacts of climate change on New Forest woodlands”
14:40 – 15:00 Dr Chris Short, University of Gloucestershire: “Climate change and resilience: a collective problem solving approach”.
15:00 – 15:40 Emma McIntosh, University of Oxford: “Towards systematic conservation planning in the New Forest”
15:40 – 15:50 Discussion
15:50 – 16:15 Tea / coffee break
16:15 – 17:15 Session 3
Panel discussion, featuring representatives of local organisations including the New Forest National Park Authority,the Forestry Commission, the New Forest Verderers, the New Forest Association, etc.]
For all enquiries, please email Kath Walker: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bournemouth University postgraduate conservation students are taking to the Congo to conduct innovative research. The GOCONGO Expedition is taking place this summer in the Bandandu Province, in the western territories of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The two conservationists involved in this project are working alongisde the WWF in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in order to carry out new and exciting research. Here is some more background information on their projects:
Mike Bull- Reptile researcher: ‘My first aim from this research will be to determine what reptile species are present in the region. It’s very exciting for me and I will most certainly be one of the first to undertake this research in Bandandu. Secondly, I am aiming to determine the effects of slash-and-burn agriculture on reptile populations in the region. It’s exactly what it sounds like as an agricultural practice and it’s a very short term yield, long term destructive method that is very popular in the developing world. To fight for change, the creation of education programmes and alternative methods for agriculture we first have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that there is a significant negative effect caused by slash-and-burn.’
Conleth Conway- Bonobo researcher : ‘My challenge within Bandandu province will be mapping the forest use of a bonobo group and their interactions with the villagers, who use the forest as part of their everyday life, alongside mapping the forest use of the villagers too. My rationale for doing this is very simple. As the Earth’s human population grows and pristine habitat shrinks, due to land use for agriculture and ever expanding towns/cities, we must understand how limited space and shared habitat will affect these vulnerable relatives of ours. Alongside the mapping of forest use for the bonobos, I will also be monitoring any behavioural changes when they in are different locations throughout the region, investigating whether they will behave differently when located closer to a human population.’