Project WILDside - Autumn Update

Ryan Clark, WILDside Project Coordinator, gives us an update on this exciting project

What a summer we have had! The weather has been extraordinary and is likely to have benefitted some species more than others. Biological records help us to understand and conserve the natural world around us so I am very glad to see how WILDside is growing and more and more people are helping us to map out species in Northamptonshire.

We are now at the end of our second main field season of the project. This is giving me more time to get all the records generated over the last year into our database so they can be used to influence decision-making and conservation in Northamptonshire and beyond. We always welcome more records and are always looking for more volunteers to help get the records we have into our database.

I have done a lot of talks and introductory workshops to various groups over the last year or so, this has been really rewarding as it has helped those with a passion for nature generate records for the species they are seeing and help conserve species in this way. We really cannot conserve species if we do not know where they are and what they are doing! This point was further raised when I attended a Wildlife Trust’s training workshop entitled ‘Training the Trainer’. Here Brian Eversham went over a number of ways in which species identification can be made easier, along with how participants can help others to learn too. Brian gave a quote, which perfectly summarised to me why I, and the records centre, are so passionate about biological recording. “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.” This quote from Confucius highlights the importance of species identification and recording and why this project exists.

Gaps on the Map

One exciting thing that we have been continuing to ask people to do is help us fill in gaps on the map. There are hundreds of 1km squares in Northamptonshire for which we do not hold a single record in our database. This map will soon be available online but drop us an email if you wish to see which squares are close to you, and help us fill in some of the gaps on the map. Thank you to everyone that has helped with this survey so far!

Online Biological Recording

The easiest way to get records to us is to submit them on our website. This is really easy and we have even produced our own guide to using the NBRC website to submit records, this can be found under ‘Submit a Sighting’. By logging into the website you can see other records submitted to the website and can keep track of all of your records. You can also attach photos to your records to provide evidence of your sightings.

Rabbits!

Our next seasonal survey is asking you to report sightings of rabbits! Yes, you read that correctly. Despite being widespread, we have relatively few records of rabbits for Northants so would like your records. For more information, and to submit your records, please see our ‘Look Out For… Rabbits’ survey.

Join in!

Our Facebook Group now has over 160 members and is a great community of people interested in recording Northamptonshire’s wildlife. There you can get help with identification along with keeping up to date with events and see what other people in the county are seeing! You can also keep up to date with the project by emailing me and asking to be added to the mailing list. This project is all about supporting recorders in the county, so if there is any way we can support you or you have any questions, please drop us an email at WILDside@northantsbrc.org.uk

The Rest of The Project

We now have 15 months of this project left and are packing in as much as we can, in order to support as many biological recorders as possible. We have planned so far:

  • Lots more workshops on biological recording and species identification, including some over the winter
  • Local Wildlife Site surveys to hone your recording skills
  • A series of talks at the Northamptonshire Natural History Society starting in January, these will cover a wide variety of different topics.
  • A celebratory conference to highlight the work of biological recorders in the county
  • Much, much more.

If there is something that we are not doing that would really help you to record wildlife in Northamptonshire, do contact us

Thanks to everyone that has got involved with WILDside so far, and the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting this project.

WILDside map