Get involved with project WILDside

An introduction to this exciting project to encourage and support new wildlife recorders in Northamptonshire

May 2017 sees the launch of Northamptonshire Biodiversity Records Centre’s WILDside project, which is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Biological records tell us about the distribution of species within the county as a whole and on individual sites, which is essential for us to conserve them.

This inspirational project will encourage new and existing wildlife recorders and promote the sharing of expertise and improved support for recording across the county. There will be a variety of training activities to suit everyone, from those new to biological recording, to those more experienced with recording wildlife, who would like some further support and training. These sessions will support the excellent range already provided by the Wildlife Trust.

To further aid identification skills, we will be running a series of drop-in sessions where you can bring along photos or specimens for myself or a local expert to try identify or help you to do so. I can also show you how to submit records and access online identification resources.

We will be surveying over 50 Local Wildlife Sites (LWSs) over the course of the project, which runs until the end of 2018. There are over 700 of these sites in Northamptonshire and relatively little is known about their fauna, this project will start to change that! The LWS surveys will provide an opportunity for recorders to develop their skills on sites they would not usually be able to access, while generating extremely valuable biological records which will help to provide advice on how to manage these sites.

We will be running a series of evening talks at the Northamptonshire Natural History Society which will give an insight into a particular habitat or species group. The first of these is on Thursday 27th April, where Mark Tyrell, the vice county recorder for dragonflies, will be giving us an insight into the world of these amazing creatures. The talk starts at 7:30pm and will take place in the Humfrey Rooms, everyone is welcome!

For even some of our most widespread and commonest species, there are ‘gaps in the map’ for where they have been recorded. We will be helping to address these gaps with targeted ‘look out for’ surveys that will highlight species that you are likely to see in a particular habitat or season, and which provide a good introduction to biological recording. Similarly we will have a list of 100 species, the Northants 100, which can be found in a number of seasons, for which we specifically would like more records – and fewer gaps!

This project is really exciting and will leave a lasting legacy of more records and better supported recorders in the county. To keep up to date with the project, why not join our brand new Facebook Group, where you will find details of upcoming events and can get help with identification. If you have any questions, please drop me an email at ryan.clark@northantsbrc.org.uk