We're inviting you to join us for a fun training session and walk along the Caen Hill Lock Flight on Sunday 13 July to learn about dragonflies and damselflies.
The event will be hosted by our ecologist, Laura Plenty, who will teach you how to identify the dragonflies and damselflies that you're likely to see along the Kennet & Avon Canal this summer.
While the event is free you'll need to book your place. Spaces are limited so book early to avoid disappointment. Please visit Eventbrite to order your free ticket.
This event forms part of our annual Great Nature Watch, which this year focusses on dragonflies and damselflies. We're worried that the wettest winter on record could have a lasting impact on populations of dragonflies and damselflies and so we're asking you to help monitor the insects.
Fluctuating river levels and fast currents are known to wash away dragonfly larva (or nymphs). As larva live underwater for up to three years, our unprecedented floods may have a long-term effect on dragonfly populations.
Peter Birch, group environment manager for the Canal & River Trust, explains: “Dragonflies, and their sister damselflies, flourish in clean water which is rich in bankside vegetation, such as reeds. This makes them a fantastic indicator of the health of a canal or river.
"While this year’s floods have had an obvious impact on larger animals, birds and fish, we are also particularly concerned with the impact on invertabrates, which form the foundation stones of a healthy water environment. We would expect to see an increase in numbers of mosquitoes and midges which prefer stagnant and isolated water, but we may also see a drop in the numbers of dragonflies which emerged this spring.
“By taking part in the Great Nature Watch, you can help us monitor numbers of dragonflies, damselflies, and in fact, all species living on Wiltshire’s canals and rivers over the coming years.”
The Great Nature Watch involves recording your wildlife sightings on our canals and rivers. Records can be submitted by downloading our free mobile app (search for Canal & River Trust) or on our website. Anyone can take part, and record as many sightings as they like between now and September.