Eco Surveys

In what we hope will be a continuing programme of "outdoor classroom" events, we've recently undertaken a number of Ecological Surveys on the farm, providing opportunities for local students and volunteers to take part...


A Community Scientist from the University of Plymouth has been guiding us through the surveys as part of the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) project funded by the National Lottery. The aim of the 5-year project is to engage communities with the natural world through involvement in national surveys of nature and ecology and to bring scientists and the community together to inspire interest and discovery in the natural world.

bug_surveyThe earlier morning session was undertaken by "A Level" students from Clyst Vale Community College, who learnt about grassland ecology and human influence upon it, why flower-rich grasslands are important, how to carry out a basic vegetation survey using line transects and quadrats and how to identify positive and negative grassland indicator species. It was great for them to have some time away from their desks, enjoying the Devon landscape, whilst being intellectually stimulated.

Later in the morning volunteers took part in hedgerow surveys. This included answering questionnaires, identifying plants and even invertebrates. This was done on a number of distinct hedge sections giving us a baseline for future surveys. The data will be entered into their national study as well as being used locally to help monitor and guide our farming activities. As part of the research the University are assessing how accessible the survey method is; the printed identification guides areĀ available free online.