Exciting new wildlife count from Somerset Wildlife Trust and SERC launches to help make wildlife really count

Exciting new wildlife count from Somerset Wildlife Trust and SERC launches to help make wildlife really count

The Big Count 2022 runs from June 17th – 26th, offering the public the chance to help protect local wildlife by recording the species living right on their doorsteps and in their favourite local green spaces.

Tuesday 26th April – Somerset Wildlife Trust is delighted to announce the launch of the Big Count 2022, an exciting, Somerset-wide citizen science venture which aims to help monitor changes in local wildlife populations by encouraging as many people as possible to take note of and record the species living in their gardens, parks, and communities. The count hopes to inspire participants to get outside and connect with nature, while also becoming important eyes and ears on the ground as they collect vital data about some of Somerset’s native species in order to help inform the work that’s needed to stop further species decline.

The Big Count is part of the Great Somerset Wildlife Count initiative, a joint venture between Somerset Wildlife Trust and Somerset Environmental Record Centre (SERC). SERC holds over 2.5 million records of species present in Somerset, but there are gaps in its knowledge about more ‘common’ species, and it hopes the Big Count 2022 will not only help to fill those gaps, but also provide important information about the health of the ecosystems that exist to support them. Earlier this year, the two organisations hosted their first wildlife count within this initiative, which encouraged the public to record important data about frog and toadspawn populations in their area. The Big Count 2022 comes after the success of this initial project, which gained support from over 100 participants, and is set to become an annual event, held each summer.

This year, the Big Count will run from June 17th – 26th. For a period of one hour in the day (and it can be done every day as long as it’s in a different place each time), the public are being asked to record their wildlife sightings on the popular iNaturalist citizen science platform for 8 individual species of wildlife and any species within 4 whole species groups, which includes dragonflies, goldfinch, spiders, and several species of butterfly. This is an activity for everyone to get involved in, whether family, friends, neighbours, school, social groups, scout groups, or congregations. There is a FREE downloadable pack available on the Somerset Wildlife Trust website, which will explain everything participants need to know about this exciting project.

Leon DeBell, SERC Manager says, “During the pandemic we know that people have opened their eyes to nature and wildlife — whether on their doorstep or in their local green space — so this is a brilliant way to extend and nurture that nature connection and think about the relationships they have with wildlife and, at a time where so many more people are now asking, “what can I do to make a difference”, it’s something simple to do that really can make a difference. When it comes to records, it’s quite literally a numbers game, so we want as many people taking part as possible – we can’t do this without the public behind the Big Count so we want everyone to spread the word.”

How to get involved:

  1. Go to https://www.somersetwildlife.org/wildlife/great-somerset-wildlife-count/big-count-2022 and download your FREE digital pack.
  2. Create an iNaturalist account at https://www.inaturalist.org/ or download either the iNaturalist or Seek app.
  3. Get counting! Do as many counts as you can in different places and encourage as many people as you can to do the same.
  4. That’s it — you’ve just contributed important data to wildlife trends in Somerset!

Don’t forget to tag @SomersetWT and @somersetERC in any social media updates, and use the hashtag #GreatSomersetWildlifeCount!

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