Chris Packs-‘em-in despite threat of Alien Invasion

‘BioBlitz the Wetlands’ on Saturday July 21st attracted visitor numbers of 1,217 to Newport Wetlands with the promise of the Chris Packham UK BioBlitz team touching down from its whirlwind tour of Wales sometime in the afternoon…


In the meantime, our budding brave ‘BioBlitzers’ were tasked with completing an ‘Alien Hunt’ around the Newport Wetlands reserve in search of those pesky critters and creeping veggies which could pose a real threat to the 900 miles of reens and ditches of the Gwent Levels in the future. However, to hunt an alien, our budding ‘Alien Hunters’ first had to undertake a crash-course in Invasive Species ID amidst the ‘Bio Hazard’ boxes and creepy sounds of the ‘Living Levels Gazebo of Doom’ training ground…


Deprived of using their sight, our Alien Hunter recruits were subjected to ‘trial by touch’ as they attempted to identify three potential invasive species sealed in Bio Hazard boxes by placing their  hands through narrow slits and studying images of various invasive villains at the same time. This did produce some hilarious results and having endured this tough recruitment, our intrepid ‘Alien Hunters’ then completed a trail around the reserve hunting for other species of plants and animals via bug hunts and pond dips. They left with a new found knowledge of Invasive Species (with an identification fact sheet to remind them) and a glimpse of the great man himself, as arriving with Iolo Williams in tow, Chris Packham rallied the troops in aid of UK wildlife and met the many volunteers and experts who had brought their knowledge and expertise to this busy day.

At the end of the day we had 320 records submitted to SEWBReC – the local biodiversity records centre – a fantastic achievement!

It was a wonderful way to celebrate the fantastic diversity of the Gwent Levels, and a great example of the Living Levels Landscape Partnership in action. Our thanks go to all who were involved in making the event such a success!