Special Guest Visits Dragonfly Centre on Important Mission for Wildlife

Dragonfly champion and all round wildlife hero Chris Packham and his team popped in to see us at our Dragonfly Centre at the fantastic National Trust Wicken Fen nature reserve. He was taking part in a U.K. wide bioblitz to highlight that nature reserves on their own are not enough to protect our wildlife. We had a chat with him about how dragonflies are faring and why we need more records and more people to champion these iconic insects.

On Saturday 21st July we celebrated Dragonfly Day at Wicken Fen. Then on Sunday 22nd July we helped National Trust staff and visitors to find as many dragonfly species on site as possible in the 24 hour bioblitz. It was an action packed day with specialists in all sorts of species recording out on site and giving taster sessions to budding naturalists of all ages. A bioblitz gives a snapshot of biodiversity levels on a site at that moment in time, almost like a crude form of a stock take to check what is around. It is also a great opportunity for everyone to get an insight into wildlife recording by joining experts on taster sessions.

Chris Packham and British Dragonfly Society Conservation Outreach Officer Fiona McKenna at the Dragonfly Centre at Wicken Fen

The results of this national audit will be used to create a benchmark; this will help measure the rise and fall in numbers of different species in the future. The Wicken Fen species records from the weekend are still being collated so we will bring you an update once all the numbers have been added up. Our last update from Maddie the ranger was that they were at over 700 species so far! Wicken Fen was the first ever nature reserve that the National Trust acquired in 1899 and it has been managed at landscape scale for wildlife ever since. It really is a great place for wildlife, but as Chris Packham points out nature reserves on thier own are not enough. This is why at the British Dragonfly Society we work in partnership with others to manage land for dragonflies and other weltand species, which is a main focus of our Hotspots project, and we focus on connecting up these habitats too. We need 'stepping stones' of good quality habitat in the wider landscape, connected up wherever possible to allow species to move in response to climatic and habitat changes.

It really is a great place for wildlife, but as Chris Packham points out nature reserves on thier own are not enough. This is why at the British Dragonfly Society we work in partnership with others to manage land for dragonflies and other weltand species, which is a main focus of our Hotspots project, and we focus on connecting up these habitats too. We need 'stepping stones' of good quality habitat in the wider landscape, connected up wherever possible to allow species to move in response to climatic and habitat changes.

We also took the opportunity to talk to Chris about why we need more people to get out there and help us to record dragonflies. We need everyone to get to know and love their local dragonflies and to send us thier sightings. That way not only will we be able to build up a more accurate picture of how species are faring but people will notice when thier local species disappear and when the habitat changes. We can then try to do something about it before we lose any more species. Please take a look at our recording page for more details and helpful hints of how to get started. And if you'd like to do more to help dragonflies please consider supporting our work by becoming a member, and if you have a garden please consider building a pond  - it is a fantastic way to help these iconic insects to thrive.

For more information about Chris Packham's Bioblitz project: https://www.chrispackham.co.uk/chris-packhams-uk-bioblitz-2018