Gatwick’s week of wildlife events

Shelter building. Photo: Miles Davies, Sussex Wildlife Trust
Shelter building. Photo: Miles Davies, Sussex Wildlife Trust

Gatwick has today announced a new week-long series of events to bring staff and nearby residents closer to the airport’s local wildlife.

The ‘Gatwick Goes Wild’ project has been jointly organised by both the airport and the Gatwick Greenspace Partnership, and will offer a programme of events for all ages to explore the wild spaces and nature found on the airport’s doorstep.

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 sunset.

Gatwick will also host a ‘Mammal Detectives’ session, offering an opportunity to track some of the larger mammals living nearby as well as meeting smaller mammals, such as harvest mice and bank voles.

A similar week of wildlife events was organised for Gatwick staff and the public in June last year, and its popularity inspired the airport to offer the events again this year.

The sessions will be led by staff from the Sussex Wildlife Trust, the Surrey Bat Group as well as Gatwick Airport’s Biodiversity Consultant, Rachel Bicker. Rachel, who has a BSc in Zoology and a Masters in Biological Sciences Research, also used to be a volunteer and contractor with the Sussex Wildlife Trust and has even appeared on the BBC’s One Show in her current role at the airport.

‘Gatwick Goes Wild’ will run from Monday May 28 to Saturday June 2.

Spaces for each event will be allocated on a first come, first served basis and all children must be accompanied by an adult. To book a space on any of the sessions, email: community@gatwickairport.com

Gatwick Airport’s Biodiversity Consultant, Rachel Bicker, 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.”

Full programme of events:

· Monday 28 May – Wildlife along the River Mole, 10:45am – 1pm

Learn about the species of plants and animals along the River Mole at Gatwick.

· Tuesday 29 May – Family Bushcraft and Woodland Adventure, 10:15am – 2:30pm

A series of wildlife-related activities for children and their adults!

· Wednesday 30 May – Wildflowers and their Pollinators, 12:45pm – 2pm

Join us on a walk from the South Terminal and learn about the important insects which pollinate our plants.

· Thursday 31 May – Butterfly Ball and Grasshopper’s Feast, 11am – 1pm

To the Butterfly Ball and the Grasshoppers Feast. All are invited, both insect and beast!

· Friday 1 June – River Mole Bat Walk, 8:45pm – 11pm

Witness bats at sunset emerging from the roof of an old farmhouse and listen to them on a bat detector.

· Saturday 2 June – Mammal Detectives, 10:15am – 2:30pm

Meet some of Gatwick’s mammals and learn all about how we find them.