The end of last year marked the end of an era, as the Volunteer Programme drew to a close. Hard hats and gardening gloves were exchanged for Christmas party hats and a spirited game of beetle drive as we celebrated at The Anchor in Wisley.
Volunteers have been an integral part of this project from its inception in 2010, almost single-handedly maintaining the two trial plots at Wisley.
As well as the inevitable drudgery of weeding, mulching and cutting back, volunteers also threw themselves at more diverse tasks such as driving in climber posts, ascending 12ft-tall (3.6m) tripod ladders armed with a digital camera, and lifting sludge from pitfall traps. Over the years I’ve been impressed with the ‘can-do’ attitude of all our volunteer team, some of whom have been with us from start to finish.
So a massive thanks to all of our volunteers both past and present. As well as Judi O’Prey, Carolyn Hewitt and Helen Latham shown here, we must mention Linda Moyes, James Backshall, Crystal Duncan, John Ricketts, Kathy Stones and Jenna Watt.
While goodbyes are always rather sad, it is with great pleasure that we welcome some new faces. PhD student, Roberto Padovani (pictured middle), visited Wisley recently with his York University supervisor, Professor Chris Thomas (pictured right). Roberto will be making use of the Plants for Bugs experimental plots this year in his study 'The accumulation of regional diversity in the Anthropocene: insects on plants'. Just what that means, I’ve decided to let Roberto explain – so watch this space for the next post!
As we scurry away in the background working on the next Plants for Bugs paper, it’s nice to know the plots are offering fresh opportunities for researchers.