Gatwick celebrates local wildlife with a catalogue of public events

·         ‘Gatwick Goes Wild’ project will bring people closer to the nature around the airport

·         A number of family events to be held across the week-long initiative

·         Everyone welcome to enjoy activities such as river walks, “balsam-bashing” and bat-spotting tours  

 

It may come as something of a surprise, but the leafy landscape around Gatwick Airport is home to a wide variety of animals and plants living blissfully side-by-side with one of Europe’s busiest airfields. To celebrate this, Gatwick is set to run a week-long initiative which will bring staff, passengers and nearby residents closer to the airport’s local wildlife.

The ‘Gatwick Goes Wild’ project has been jointly organised by both the airport and the Gatwick Greenspace Partnership, and will offer a programme of events for all ages to explore the wild spaces and nature found on the airport’s doorstep.

Planned events include a walk along the River Mole to learn about the plants and animals living in and alongside it, as well as an evening stroll to enjoy the fascinating sight of bat colonies emerging at sunset. Gatwick will also host a ‘Mammal Mayhem’ session, offering an opportunity to meet some of the small mammals living nearby, such as harvest mice and bank voles.

A similar week of wildlife events was organised for Gatwick staff in June last year, and its popularity inspired the airport to offer this year’s events to members of the public too.

The initiative takes place in conjunction with The Wildlife Trusts’ ‘30 Days Wild’ campaign, which encourages the public to participate in various “random acts of wildness” throughout the month of June.

‘Gatwick Goes Wild’ will run from Monday 29 May to Monday 5 June. Spaces for each event will be allocated on a first come, first served basis and all children must be accompanied by an adult. To book a space on any of the sessions, please email rachel.bicker@gatwickairport.com.

 

Rachel Bicker, Biodiversity Consultant at Gatwick Airport, said:

 

“With many species declining across the country, there’s never been a more important time to get out there and engage with wildlife, and from grass snakes to rare long-horned bees, there’s lots of intriguing wildlife to be discovered at Gatwick.

 

“The airport invests significant resources into protecting and maintaining its environment, and we’re keen to give our local community an insight into how we look after the range of species living on the doorstep of one of Europe’s busiest airports. I, for one, can’t wait for this exciting week of wild days out exploring Gatwick’s captivating nature sites!” 

 

Full programme of events:

 

·         Monday, 29 May – Mammal Mayhem, 10am – 1pm

Come and meet some of the small mammals of Gatwick and see how we survey them!

·         Tuesday, 30 May – River Mole bat walk, 9pm – 11pm

Witness bats at sunset emerging from the roof of an old farmhouse, and listen to them on a bat detector.

·         Wednesday, 31 May – Forest School for all the family, 10am – 2pm

A series of wildlife-related activities for children and their adults.

·         Friday, 2 June – Wildlife along the River Mole, 11am – 1pm

Learn about the species of plants and animals along the River Mole at Gatwick.

·         Friday, 2 June – River Mole balsam-bashing, 1pm – 3pm

Join us for a short volunteer session, removing the invasive Himalayan Balsam plants along the river banks.

·         Saturday, 3 June – Forest School for all the family, 10am – 2pm

A series of wildlife-related activities for children and their adults.

·         Monday, 5 June – Riverside Garden Park Pollinator Walk, 1pm – 2pm

Join us on a walk from the South Terminal and learn about the important insects which pollinate our plants.

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