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Ken Merry during City Nature Challenge

York College gets the Biodiversity Bug

York College helped York lead the way for the UK during the city’s first-ever participation in the City Nature Challenge.

The annual global event engages communities in a friendly competition to observe and record local biodiversity and nowhere else in the country could match the 1,487 different species found by nature enthusiasts in York.

The Challenge took place from 26th April to 29th April and aimed to increase awareness and appreciation for the diverse range of wildlife and plant species within urban and suburban areas.

Known as the “Jewel of York,” the endangered Tansy Beetle was among the observations made in the city during the three-day window, with the most common find proving to be the Seven-Spotted Ladybird.

Diana parkhouse J Ye1 BY Mo5 0 unsplash
Seven-Spotted Ladybird

York College & University Centre Principal and Chief Executive Ken Merry attended the official launch of the York City Nature Challenge on Friday 26th April at York Explore Library. He also went on to use the iNaturalist app to identify wildlife in nearby Museum Gardens.

In total, 221 York residents, including members of the College community, recorded an impressive 12,833 observations, which also placed the Challenge newcomers 47th from 691 participating cities across the world.

The College collaborated with local organisations, students, and community members to explore and document various species within the York area, including our immediate surroundings at Sim Balk Lane. Participants used the iNaturalist app to capture photographs and data, which were then shared with other participants worldwide. This data contributes to scientific research and helps local authorities understand and manage their natural environments better.

York City Nature Challenge
Ken Merry attending the official launch of the York City Nature Challenge

The College played a significant role in organising educational workshops during the Challenge. These workshops aimed to teach participants how to properly identify and document different species and understand their ecological significance.

The Challenge is not only an opportunity to connect with nature but also a chance to engage in citizen science and contribute to a global database of biodiversity information. York College's active participation in the event highlights its commitment to environmental education and conservation efforts.

Pyramidal Orchid
Pyramidal Orchid
Common Hawthorne
Common Hawthorne

Debi Saunders, Senior Quality & Compliance Officer, as an individual came forth across York, with 560 observations of 134 species and said:

“The City Nature Challenge provides an opportunity for the College to show that it is serious about working with the community on matters relating to sustainability and biodiversity.

“Having the presence of our Principal & Chief Executive, Ken Merry, at the launch event and the active contribution of our staff are a sign of this.”

The Global Goals for Sustainable Development

Opportunities such as these, allow us to work towards a better future in line with The Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

The Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked objectives designed to serve as a "shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future”.

Which of the goals did this project benefit?