Sawbridgeworth residents given insight to 'amazing wildlife' on doorstep with launch of Citizen Science project
A thought-provoking webinar launched Sawbridgeworth’s Citizen Science project and prompted one resident to say it had opened her eyes to the “amazing wildlife” on her doorstep.
Bob Reed, chairman of Friends of Pishiobury Park, gave an account of Sawbridgeworth’s rich biodiverse areas – from grassland to streams and the river, woods and marshland to graveyards and parks – as well as introducing the plants, insects and other animals that can be found there.
The audience was treated to local birdsong and lyrics from Joni Mitchell’s song Big Yellow Taxi, including the line “you don't know what you've got till it's gone”.
The webinar, on September 14, was attended by about 20 local residents, councillors and community group representatives who organisers said had plenty of ideas and questions about challenges facing local wildlife and possible solutions.
Sawbridgeworth resident Zoe Austin, who attended the online event, said: “Bob’s webinar was very thought-provoking and opened my eyes to the amazing wildlife that I didn’t even know I had on my doorstep.
“I am excited to be part of the Sawbridgeworth Citizen Science Group initiative to encourage residents to explore our beautiful town whilst protecting and enhancing our local environment.”
Another resident, James Barker, said: “Many of us will have enjoyed the open spaces around Sawbridgeworth during the lockdowns but are perhaps not aware of the amazing variety of ecosystems to be found here, as highlighted in the webinar.
"This new initiative will play an important role in sharing this knowledge, monitoring changes caused by climate change and human impact and to help protect these habitats for future generations, which is particularly important given the rapid pace of change currently being seen in the local area.”
Bob explained his thinking behind the initiative: “The idea behind a Citizen Science group is not to make some kind of protest group but instead to try to make people aware of the biodiversity that we have literally in our backyards, how our own lives are inextricably linked with the natural cycles which enable the Earth's systems to operate and to see how the more we interfere with and pollute these natural cycles, and destroy biodiversity, the more we shall be threatening our own existence."
He added: “Even if just a few individuals in a citizen science group are able to appreciate more about our local biodiversity and see just what damage we might be doing to our own environment then at least that's a start and maybe the word can be spread.”
For more information on the group see email@example.com.