Ant Surveys in Bushy Park

The Royal Parks

Bushy Park, London

Volunteer • Part Time

bcross@royalparks.org 0300 061 2289 Bryony Cross

Sectors: conservation & wildlife, ecology

Closing date: Friday, 27th July 2018   7 days left


Description:

Bushy Park is home to the yellow meadow ant; you can see the ant hills they create dotted all over the park grasslands. These hills only form if the ants are not disturbed by trampling, grazing, or land management practices. If allowed to develop freely, the ant hills can increase in size by up to 1 litre of soil each year. There are some in the park that we estimate to be at least 150 years old! Because ant hill size is so closely linked to the land use, we can use them to age the grassland. 

We’re interested to know what impact changing land use has had on the ants that live here. The grassland that the ants inhabit is a type called lowland acid grassland. Acid grassland is a nutritionally-poor but nationally important habitat that provides a home for several protected wildlife species. Due to human development, fewer than 30,000 hectares of lowland acid grassland are left in the UK. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to conduct surveys like this one, which will help inform future conservation efforts.

We’ll be collecting simple measurements to survey areas of the park to find out how many, and what size of ant hills are there, and whether they’ve currently got ants living in them or not. We’ll also have the opportunity to look inside some of the ant hills to understand how their complex underground homes work. 

This survey is part of Mission: Invertebrate a Royal Parks project funded by the Peoples Postcode Lottery. We want to help conserve and learn more about the small but mighty invertebrates that make the world go round. By volunteering on this project you will be contributing to important scientific research.

Location:  

Bushy Park - Sessions may start from different meeting locations so please, take note of the locations below. 

Time commitment:  

There are 4 survey sessions 2 hours each and 1 training session. We ask volunteers to try to come to the training and at least 1 survey session, but you can come to as many as you like. 

Training will take place on: 
Wednesday 1 August 2018 6.00pm – 8.00pm @ Bushy Park office 
(Children are not required to come to this session) 
*It is advised that you attend the training session. This will give you a great introduction to the history of Bushy Park, ecology of the Yellow meadow ant and the survey methodology. 

Surveys will take place on:  

Friday 3 August 2018 2.00pm – 4.00pm @ The Pheasantry cafe 
Saturday 4 August 2018 10.00am – 12.00pm @ The Pheasantry cafe 
Sunday 5 August 2018 10.00 am – 12.00pm @ Model boating lake carpark 
Monday 6 August 2018 10.00 am – 12.00pm @ Model boating lake carpark 

Key activities: 

  • Measuring ant hills to determine their volume.
  • Learning more about the Yellow meadow ant and associated grassland habitat.
  • This survey requires a lot of bending down, and working on uneven terrain.

We are looking for people who are: 

  • Enthusiastic
  • Passionate about the natural world, or wanting to learn more.
  • Happy to work outdoors and get their hands dirty!

Useful information: 

  • Reasonable travel will be reimbursed.
  • Children are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

If this sounds like something that interests you please join up for sessions here.


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