FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

Preston Montford’s new wildlife review

Shropshire-based field centre Preston Montford has recently compiled a report on the array of wildlife that can be found in the various ponds, woodlands and rivers of its beautiful surrounding areas to the west of Shrewsbury. Preston Montford is one of a national network of 17 Field Studies Council (FSC) Centres.

The wildlife review reports on the different species of plants, animals and insects found, as well as patterns in weather and temperature. Rare discoveries have included an unusual slime mould, Merlin falcon and a possible pine marten sighting, a species previously thought to be extinct in this part of the country.

Sue Townsend, Biodiversity Learning Manager at FSC explains: “The practice of field identification has been decreasing, so a new local study like this is really exciting and gives us excellent insight into the diversity of life around Preston Montford. I very much hope the review can be continued on a regular basis.”

FSC Preston Montford

The large collection of data for the wildlife review was made possible through the recording work of many people with FSC staff, visiting tutors and course attendees all contributing. Wildlife courses are run throughout the year at Preston Montford and FSC projects such as Biodiversity Fellows, Biodiversity Training Project and Invertebrate Challenge have helped to boost the volume of data by increasing the number of courses and visitors to the field centre.

The study is still growing. Following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, local natural historians have been making biological records for centuries. With the advent of computerisation, the centre is embracing the challenge of adding data from today and including past data from local recorders. This may be from recent years or as far back as when the centre opening in 1957.

Preston Montford is keen to hear from anyone who may have field observations; with input from the public, along with the continued help of tutors and visitors, the wildlife review will be published on an annual basis.  Please send any info to Adrian Pickles at FSC Preston Montford

Major users of the data will be the annual sponsored Young Darwin Scholarship course designed to encourage young wildlife enthusiasts to understand more about biological records.  Find out more  

Monday, April 29, 2013