30 Days of Wild: Idea 2-Wildlife survey

For my second 30 days wild idea I’d recommend taking part in a citizen science wildlife survey. Spending the time tracking wildlife in your area can help give valuable data on the rises and falls in populations that can then be used to help protect wildlife. Without the numbers to show the decline in wildlife, it is very hard to seek protection. That is the serious side of these surveys but they are great fun to do. It is a great chance to get outside and over several years of contributing to a number of these my knowledge of the natural world has improved massively. I’ve taken Alice along on many of my hunts and then others such as the Big Schools’ Birdwatch I’ve done in my professional capacity as a teacher.

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There are many that happen through the year: The Big Garden Birdwatch, The New Year plant hunt and the big butterfly count. But these are all outside of June. Normally I’ve taken part in Friends of the Earth’s Great British Bee hunt but this year they are not running it. They have however listed other surveys you can take part in. iRecord is one I’ve used before. You can submit your sightings and they can be verified by experts. Through iRecord you contribute to numerous projects such as the ladybird survey tracking the spread of invasive species. Buglife is looking for bee-flies this year. Fabulous insects to watch with their long tongues.

https://friendsoftheearth.uk/bee-count/bee-surveys-record-bees-and-help-science

For birds, the BTO provides bird track. You can download an app that allows you to track your bird sightings. This data then provides a National picture of the spread of birds.

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The Peoples Trust for Endangered Species is tracking mammals. If you fancy tracking hedgehogs, foxes, deer and more check this out. I was very excited to discover hedgehogs in my garden previously and there is always something exciting about sightings wild mammal. I don’t know if it’s the size or the rarity size but it’s always a joy.

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Kit

It’s useful to have a field guide to help identity whatever you choose to track. I favour the Collins series but there are many good ones. The RSPB first book of series is very good for children. My class love using them and it’s always amazing what they report seeing on our small playground. I never knew we had so many eagles and puffins. If you don’t want to spend a fortune there often available second hand. I bought a large pile from the charity shop for Alice who loves flicking through them.

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Binoculars and magnifying glasses come in use for adding a sense of adventure to the children and are useful in identifying. My camera is vital as I like to write up my findings after.

If I’ve not convinced you to give a survey a go here is a BBC Earth article telling you why you should take part. I hope you get out there and make your contribution to science.

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