We all know nature counts – but who counts nature?
Nature Counts is a new species recording site from Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, made possible thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, which makes it easy for the Trust’s ecologists, as well as members of the public, to upload details of the wildlife and plants they’ve seen in the area; a boon for ecological surveyors and citizen scientists alike!
Information like this helps the Trust to get a clearer representation of how local flora and fauna are thriving or where they are in decline. The data collected also feeds into the NBN Atlas, which is shared by ecologists across the country and used to inform national policy decisions about nature and the environment.
It used to be that the only way to know how wildlife was faring was to gather an army of volunteers and go out and meticulously survey an area one square metre at a time – and then someone back at the office would have to squint their way through smudged handwriting to type up each individual record. The new system speeds up the entire process, as well as giving the public the power to make a difference by improving the quality of information that is held about the wildlife of Sheffield and Rotherham. Nature Counts makes it simple for everyone to add their sightings, and will mean decisions can be made using up-to-date records covering a much wider area.
The species recording site will be a lasting legacy from Data for Nature, a project to improve and standardise survey methods and data collection as recommended in the 2018 Sheffield State of Nature report, supported by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Pete Tomlin, Data for Nature Project Leader, said:
“Not only will this make it easier for us to upload large amounts of data at a time after a survey, it also gives everyone visiting our reserves a way to easily contribute to the larger environmental picture.
David Renwick, Area Director North for the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“Looking after nature and helping people to understand its importance has never been more urgent and will be a major focus for the National Lottery Heritage Fund moving forward. The importance of data is often underestimated but it is essential to getting a clear picture of species and habitats. Thanks to National Lottery players this species recording site will make it easier to bring together the valuable information that citizen scientists and ecologists alike collect.”
Whether you’ve seen something common or rare in one of the Trust’s nature reserves or elsewhere within Sheffield & Rotherham, tell them by visiting wildsheffield.com/sightings
All species records are welcome!