Hundreds of participants Biodiversity Challenge at sixteen universities seek rare species

June 6, 2023

In two weeks’ time, over 200 WUR students and staff have logged 867 species on our Campus and external WUR locations. That’s already more than during last year’s Challenge and there are still four weeks to go.

“It has been a great success so far,” says lecturer Casper Quist, who originally came up with the idea of the Biodiversity Challenge. “Especially the people that do not explore nature very often, they are astonished how much biodiversity is found, just around you.”

Bioblitz is also about wonder

Currently, in our Bioblitz competition with other universities in Europe, WUR is still in the lead, closely followed by the KU Leuven and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Many of those are also organising excursions and mobilising colleagues to explore biodiversity. “It’s great that everyone is participating so enthusiastically”, says Mieke de Wit, Biodiversity Challenge organiser.
The Bioblitz is also about wonder.  “Biodiversity is something you have to experience first-hand,” explains De Wit. “People might associate biodiversity with tropical rainforests or coral reefs, but it’s actually all around us. It’s just that people tend not to pay attention to it. Through this challenge, we want to show just how much there is to find here on campus. We think people will have fun, and be astonished. And we hope it will encourage them to want to look after our natural environment a bit better.”

Watch a video of our exploring campus-wanderers: 

- Unfortunately, your cookie settings do not allow videos to be displayed. - check your settings

A wealth of species

Among the species found on Wageningen Campus are over 350 plant and tree species, 75 kinds of flies and mosquitoes, 68 species of beetles and 50 species of moths. Rare finds include lichens such as Physcia vitii and Candelaria pacifica, as well as the Polistes biglumis wasp and the scarce seven-spot ladybird (Coccinella magnifica). 

Also at external WUR locations, the Challenge is giving great results. Colleagues from Wageningen Bioveterinary Research in Lelystad are organising lunch walks and have already seen many kinds of insects, including a great green bush cricket. At Wageningen Marine Research in Den Helder and Yerseke, several water birds were added to the count, such as cormorants, different species of gull and a spoonbill. And the horticulture specialists in Bleiswijk have found many types of plants, as well as birds such as the lapwing and the redshank. 

Join the excursions and explore nature for yourself

You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy nature. For those of you who want to learn and explore more, there are many opportunities to join excursions, attend lectures and other activities. This week for instance, there’s a lecture and excursion on pollinators, organised by the study association Biologica. The WUR Library is showing the exposition ‘Stories Plants Tell’, about which there will be a lunch talk in Impulse on Tuesday 6th. Or come and see the amphibians and reptiles on campus, on Thursday 8th at 12pm. 

View the entire programme in June on

Open campus for all of Wageningen: Saturday July 1st

Celebrating this year’s 105th anniversary of WUR, we open up our campus for all of Wageningen to roam and discover biodiversity on the 1st of July. The municipality of Wageningen is supporting the initiative. We invite you to come join the excursions on insects, birds, plants, aquatic species, green roofs, sustainable campus, soil life, tropical crops, food forests, macro photography and gardening, together with your family and friends!    

Registration is now open, so be quick to subscribe to your favourite activity:

Sign up here