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Gatwick goes wild this half term

A project has been set up by Gatwick Airport and the Gatwick Greenspace Partnership to highlight the wide variety of animals and plants living happily by the side of one of Europe’s busiest airfields.

‘Gatwick Goes Wild’ will see a special week long programme of events designed to bring staff, passengers and nearby residents closer to the airport’s local wildlife. Visitors of all ages are encouraged to explore the wild spaces and nature found in this surprising location at various events from Monday 29th May to Monday 5th June.

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 dusk. 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.

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.

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!”

Gatwick Goes Wild programme of events:

·         Monday, 29 May – Mammal Mayhem, 10am – 1pm
Meet some of the small mammals of Gatwick and find out how they are surveyed.

·         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 Gatwick Greenspace Partnership 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
A walk from the South Terminal to learn more about the important insects that pollinate our plants.

To book a place at any of the events email rachel.bicker@gatwickairport.com. To find out more about the Gatwick Greenspace Project visit https://sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/get-involved/community-projects/gatwick

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