Why Lancer Park?

It is true that it’s a small piece of land in the middle of urban and agricultural landscape. However, it is close to campus, it has an array of habitats from wetlands to eastern deciduous forests, and it is at the confluence of Buffalo Creek and the Appomattox River. So do you think that it is a good location to find diverse communities? Is it a decent place to have ecology field labs? Do you even find any animals there? Is it worth exploring? Am I going to just waste my time?

I had all these questions in my mind, when I was starting as a brand new assistant professor of biology at Longwood University in fall of 2013. I like to be outside exploring wildlife and I think my students would like doing the same when learning ecology or conservation biology. So I started exploring Lancer Park right away!

In several months, I realized that I found the right place for my field labs and it is hard to believe that this piece of land harbors so much diversity. Over the last two years I have introduced Lancer Park to many Longwood students through my classes and together we have discovered many species living in this wonderful “green space”.

I do not want to spoil your excitement, but as a person who studies crayfish, I think it is quite amazing to find three species of crayfish (in three different genera) in such a small property and it may be an indication for rich diversity of Lancer Park. Please come join us on April 23rd to find and document the biodiversity of Lancer Park!

Devil crayfish

Devil crayfish (Cambarus diogenes) is one of three crayfish found in Lancer Park (Photo © Sujan Henkanaththegedara)

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One Response to Why Lancer Park?

  1. Becca Osborne says:

    I too initially had doubts about Lancer Park, I thought there wouldn’t be much biodiversity there due to its proximity to the town. On the first trip out to Lancer Park for an Invertebrate Zoology class we were to collect specimen and identify our findings. Just about everyone in the class found something different! And we were all within sight of one another during our collection, can you believe it?! From this trip and others collecting fish from the water ways I’m sure now that Lancer Park is a great place to study for diversity, I cannot wait to see what specimens are collected and I’m so excited to be a part of this!

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