Exploring Our Locality | Biodiversity around the Museum

Kyle Campbell-Pope, ‘From Our Students’ (2020) Film still.


Whilst we are temporarily closed to the public, we are working with our partner venue Stanley Picker Gallery to compile a weekly newsletter highlighting previous projects, collection items and activity suggestions to keep you inspired and creative at home. The theme for today’s newsletter, Thursday 9 July, is Exploring Our Locality.

Dorich House Museum lies next to Richmond Park, right at the north-eastern edge of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, an area rich in open green space that includes Wimbledon and Putney Commons. The Museum’s surroundings were recently captured in a film by Museum & Gallery Assistant Kyle Campbell-Pope, pictured above, about what our venues mean to him and fellow students.

Kingston University’s Biodiversity Action Group works on University campuses and the local area, including Dorich House Museum, with the aims of improving green spaces for both wildlife and people, undertaking practical conservation projects that aim to protect, enhance and create habitats for wildlife. Squirrels often stop off in the museum’s heritage orchard for a bite to eat from our apple trees, which are maintained with the help of volunteers. The museum is also on the site of a bat corridor and in 2018, a bat roosted in one of the student-built architectural pavilions. This week, we chatted to Sivi Sivanesan, Biodiversity and Landscape Manager, Estates and Sustainability, Kingston University:

“For those of you who live in or around our sites, the lockdown might have got you noticing more wildlife than you normally would have, especially when the reduction in vehicular traffic increased the bird song that we could hear and also drew wildlife to new areas. I was lucky enough to see approximately 7-8 swifts feeding in the air over Penrhyn Road Campus, not a site that I recall seeing before. Helping to survey and report the wildlife that we see really helps conservation efforts. This has been a strange summer, as we have had to reduce and stop a lot of our normal volunteering work, and lots of our sites are currently closed to the public. However, we are attempting to survey all of our sites for butterflies as part of the Big Butterfly Count run by Butterfly Conservation.

Those who are local to Kingston University can volunteer to help with the butterfly count any time between 17 July and 9 August. As this isn’t a vital activity, only those who are already living or working within walking or cycling distance of the sites should take part. To sign up and for more info, including social distancing recommendations and a list of the sites to be surveyed, email Sivi Sivanesan biodiversity@kingston.ac.uk 

For Kington University students who are looking for activities for their Kingston Award, each survey counts as one biodiversity activity.

For those not local to Kingston University sites, you can still help by downloading the Big Butterfly Count app and surveying local parks and gardens, or perhaps on your walk to work or school.

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