Families! Become Ant Ambassadors and help carry out lottery-funded research into Richmond Park’s ancient ant hills – home of the yellow meadow ant. Training given.
For more details and how to apply HERE
Richmond Park is home to the yellow meadow ant; you can see the ant hills they create dotted all over the park grasslands. These hills only form if the ants are not disturbed by trampling, grazing, or land management practices. If allowed to develop freely, the ant hills can increase in size by up to 1 litre of soil each year. There are some in the park that we estimate to be at least 150 years old!
Because ant hill size is so closely linked to the land use, we can use them to age the grassland.
Richmond Park has a rich history dating back to the 17th century. Over the years, many things have changed. Hospitals and sports fields have come and gone. Land management practices have used different techniques for drainage, fertilization, and ploughing. We’re interested to know what impact all of these works have had on the ants that live here. This project aims to find out two things:
How long have ants been living undisturbed in different parts of the park?
What effect do different types of habitat (e.g. woodland, bog) within the park have on the size of ant colonies?
To answer these questions we will be collecting measurements of the volume and core temperature of ant hills in identified areas of interest. We will also be taking a look inside some of the ant hills to understand how their complex underground homes work.
Having a big team of volunteers means that we can cover a much larger section of the park, capturing data on as many areas as possible. Measuring ant hills is easy, and great fun for all the family.
Contact Bryony at email@example.com if you would like to be one of our ant ambassadors.