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The Isle of Wight’s end of summer bring-your-own-bucket celebration of people, place and nature, Under The Pier, was a packed and happy, species-rich spectacle last week.

This free event hosted by Island-based environmental businesses Arc and Artecology, uncovers the coastal wildlife under busy Ryde Pier. This year around 600 visitors descended on Ryde Esplanade with dozens of species discovered.

Claire Hector, from Arc and Artecology, explains:

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“The pier’s 200+ year old architecture, and the sandflats we explore to the west of it, are home to an enormous array of fascinating marine life. With so many eyes exploring, we had some astonishing finds, all identified with the help of our ecologists and volunteers. Favourite discoveries include the striking Sea Scorpions (a first for Under The Pier), tiny juvenile cuttlefish and arrays of anemones.

“This is the 6th year we’ve held Under The Pier and people come back year after year but for all of us 2019 was extra-special as we could also celebrate being part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve”.

Ian Boyd, who led the day, says:

“Our everyday work is in integrating wildlife, landscape and communities to make places healthier and more interesting for people and for nature across the UK. We have a place standard called Shaping Better Places and this is what Biosphere is all about too. We also develop designs that make space for biodiversity in the built environment.

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“Right here on our doorstep though at Ryde Pier is a great example of how wildlife can make the most of infrastructure, given the chance. Under the Pier is a fun way to introduce people to all of this and it’s lovely to help everyone see a familiar place in a new light.

“Hopefully these events are also bringing biodiversity to the attention of local businesses and corporations; while our business is wildlife-related, anyone can put measures for biodiversity, everyday wildlife, at the heart of their business in a whole host of ways”.

For more information and to keep an eye out for next year’s date, visit www.underthepier.space!

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