According to some reports, the COVID-19 lockdown has encouraged people to become more interested in nature (though seeing the careless attitude to natural areas shown by many people who are littering more than ever, setting barbeque fires left right and centre and using beaches as a toilet, not everyone cares).
For those who are becoming more interested in nature, citizen science is a great way to learn more and get involved in conservation work.
Citizen science basically means research projects that include input from members of the general public. These can be field based natural history or online based projects such as those hosted by Zooniverse.
One of the most fundamental ways you can help citizen science is to record the wildlife you see and then send your records to one of the following:
an online recording scheme such as iRecord,
your local wildlife records centre (in the Lothians this is the The Wildlife Information Centre)
a specialist wildlife recording scheme (such as the UK Hoverfly Group, which collects records through its Facebook group).
The recording schemes then feed records into data that should inform the conservation of species and habitats - building up a picture of which species are thriving and which need special attention to protect them.
Theoretically all the various recording groups should share information, but that doesn't seem yet to always be the case, specially when it comes to controversial developments on greenspace when the 'ecologist' advising the developers often seems unable to come up with information that keen amateur naturalists in the area are almost certainly sharing with the recording schemes.
If you take part in citizen science, what is your favourite project to get involved with?
For 30 Days Wild.
One of my current interests is the #GreatStagHunt as we have had good numbers of these beetles (and lots of cockchafers/billywitches too) in our area, and one or two actually in the garden.
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