Hope for Nature
To set the scene: it’s Low Luckens in September - summer on last knockings - nectar on last orders - bugs at the last chance saloon.
As a warm afternoon in the garden wears on towards tea time, the bee and fly buzz and hum around late summer blossom reaches such an intensity that any notion of insects facing extinction seems ludicrous. There are scores of them on the Michaelmas daisies. Bumblebees, butterflies, hoverflies that look like bumblebees, hoverflies that hover like flies never do, hoverflies that look like skinny wasps, metal backed greenbottles, a worn day moth, a gangly harvestman, a yellow and black striped hoverer, with glass wings on a gold-plated thorax – surely all this frantic, nectar-sucking, darting, foraging complexity signals the eternal abundance of nature!
Well it doesn’t. For insects, as for most other groups of organisms on the planet including us, these sun-kissed afternoons could be numbered if we can’t get our act together – and as David Attenborough says – stop behaving like eejits.
Thank goodness for naturalists, ecologists and conservationists! People like Jane Orgee who is conducting our first proper study of invertebrates, including those attracted to Michaelmas daisies. Her aim is to establish baseline biodiversity data against which the effects of our organic market gardening methods can be measured. Where grass, docks and rushes dominate now, we aim to establish a new organic orchard with rows of apple trees and alleyways managed not just for food production but for biodiversity enhancement and nutrient cycling aimed at capturing carbon as much as maintaining soil fertility.
As Jane says “It’s only by noticing the other life forms that we share our spaces with, learning about their lifecycles and habitat requirements and how they feed in to the bigger picture, that we are able to appreciate their importance, and understand how we can, and must make space for them.”
“We especially need to recognize the importance of invertebrates in the bigger ecological systems that we ourselves are a part of, and on which we depend”.
“Identifying, naming and documenting is an important component of this process, most especially in these times of biodiversity loss and climate change. If we can identify and understand the importance and value of each species, surely, we can start to care about and protect them – not only for the benefit of us, here today, but for the generations who follow.”
Jane’s finds are also contributing to other projects and initiatives – most especially the ‘Get Cumbria Buzzing’ citizen science venture
which was developed by the Cumbria Local Nature Partnership and is being delivered by Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the UK Hoverfly Recording Scheme.
All species documented by Jane at Low Luckens, have been recorded either on iRECORD or iNATURALIST making them available for other national databases to use for their records.
Jane acknowledges the many people who have kindly given their time and expertise in helping identify some of the invertebrates. Many of these people are experts in their own fields, and run, or are members of specialist groups on Facebook.
“These groups are doing so much to inspire, educate and encourage amateurs like myself to become more interested and involved in their specialist areas” says Jane.
“I would therefore like to acknowledge and thank those who have assisted me from the following Facebook groups”
Beetles of Britain and Ireland
UK Harvestmen (Oppillones)
UK Cranefly Recording Scheme
UK Bees Wasps and Ants Recording Society
Isopods and Myriapods of Britain and Ireland
Cumbria Moth Group
Cumbria Insects and Invertebrates
Carlisle Natural History Society
There are scores of them! It’s all this frantic, identifying, magnifying, photographing, scribbling complexity of human endeavour - and expertise freely shared – which signals: there’s hope for nature yet!