I have spent many hours this Spring peering into nests, photographing bees, gardening, creating new growing areas and the like and have come into contact with many species I didn’t know lived with me. It has set me ruminating about the richness of the biodiversity in a suburban garden in a temperate climate.
This week the Guardian newspaper published an interesting article about the biodiversity in a small , “rather scruffy” garden in North London. Four ecologists from the Natural History museum in London visited and in the space of about 2 hours identified nearly 200 species. There are pictures here. A true “bioblitz” lasts 24 hours and aims to “find everything of biological origin in one place in one time.”
One of the main aims of the Natural History Museum’s new Centre for UK Biodiversity is ” to encourage the public to learn to identify more of the 55,000 species of flora and fauna that exist in England alone”. Why? Because in order for people to “to take a bit more responsibility for the quality of the environment we live in, and to do that we have to understand it a bit more.” It is so true-it is essential to know what you have, so you can look after it and appreciate it.
The United Nations have designated May 22nd as International Day for Biological diversity. I am wondering how it will l be celebrated, if indeed it will be. Unlike Earth Day, which seems to have caught the public imagination, I am not aware of a popular mood yet to celebrate the International Day of Biodiversity. You might indeed be thinking that it is yet another of those rather meaningless “days” set aside for the pursuit of various causes that you know little and frankly, care less about. We are all so busy and there are so many good causes….
I don’t usually subscribe to most of them either-I don’t even do the “lights out” on Earth Day-but this “day” feels right to observe, and has caught my attention this year. As gardeners and growers this could be “our” a day to mark. Several of my favourite gardening blogs have mentioned the RHS competition to promote biodiversity in the garden (now closed) and in 100 words Celia at Purple Podded Peas came up with this wonderful summary of what biodiversity can be all about, far more eloquently than I can express it, although I concur wholeheartedly with her sentiments..
So this weekend, or now or next week, get out into your green space, smell the flowers, watch the bees, think about how wonderful the world is and perhaps resolve to do one thing to improve the biodiversity in that space, perhaps even by doing less-less tidying, less manicuring, less (or better, no) spraying, less slug pellets and enjoy. We’re all in this together.