7 conservation projects you can help with during lockdown
Do you want to make a difference in the world of wildlife conservation? With life temporarily put on hold, it can be difficult to find ways to help wildlife beyond feeding the birds in your back garden. However, there are a number of ongoing conservation research projects that could still use your help, even during lockdown.
Whatever your interest Zooniverse will have a project you can get involved with. The website functions as a meeting ground of people running projects that might need a little help with their data and people that might want to spend their free time constructively. At any point there can be upwards of 100 different nature projects to help out on, from identifying raccoons on camera trap photos to spotting fish on live cameras on a Swedish seabed. The process itself couldn’t be easier, simply go to the link provided and sign up for one of the projects to get started right away and help conservation research across the world.
2. Living with Mammals
(30th March – 28th June)
Living with mammals is a long-term study carried out by the Peoples Trust for Endangered Species here in the UK. They aim to look at how our green spaces are doing by counting the signs of wildlife found in and around urban areas. This year they are asking participants to report any and all signs of wildlife in their gardens or nearby greenspaces, limiting the need to go out an about. If you want to help out simply keep an eye out for any evidence of mammals in your area, from mice droppings to actual sightings they want to hear about it all.
3. Project splatter
Project Splatter is a citizen science project that studies the abundance and distribution of wildlife roadkill across the UK. Roadkill is unfortunately common with over a million mammals killed on the 260,000 miles of roads in the UK. However, it poses a unique and informative data set that can help monitor species distributions and population levels. To help out with this project you can either download the App or email any sightings to them, all you need is a GPS position / grid reference and the best identification you can give.
4. Butterfly counts
The Butterfly conservation trust is looking for people to record any sightings they have as butterflies start to emerge this spring. Climate change is a big topic right now but its not just humans that are being impacted. Since 1990 there has been a shift of about 25km north for many temperature dependent species. This means that a number of the UK’s species distributions will change into the future, as the climate warms. To help monitor this impact butterfly conservation trust are asking us to record the species and where you see them. All you need to do is download the iRecord app and keep an eye out for any of the colourful insects enjoying your garden.
5. Nesting Neighbours
The British trust for Ornithology is asking people to keep an eye out for any nesting birds during their time in quarantine. The information collected helps scientists get an idea of how successful our bird species are being and what might be impacting their breeding. But its not just endangered species they want to know about, its any and all species you might have setting up home in your garden. They even want to know if you spot any unsuccessful nests around your home as this can give an indication of any changes for species across the UK. Unlike some of the others mentioned, this survey is a little more intense and requires a little more work. To find out more information take a look at their website, its free and easy to sign up and start taking part.
6. Blooms for bees
Blooms for bees is another citizen science project than anyone can help out with from their home. As numbers of these vital pollinators decline, knowing more about where they are and the types of plants they like is becoming more and more important. This project also couldn’t make it simpler to take part, all you have to do is watch 1 plant for 5 minutes and submit what species are visiting it via their helpful app. If like me you might find it hard to identify the 25 native species of bee, the projects website has a number of resources and ID guides to help out and make it even easier to help save our bees.
7. Save our Swifts (May – July)
The RSPB are looking for helpers to send in sightings of swifts from across the UK. Swifts are one of our migratory bird species returning each year to breed, but sadly there has been a 57% decrease in breeding numbers between 1995 and 2016 has made swifts an amber-listed species. To help out all you have to do is keep an eye out for nests and breeding / courtship behaviours and submit them via their website. The website also provides some more handy information on how to tell if swifts are nesting in your area or simply passing through. They hope that by identifying where the remaining populations are, it can help conserve the species and slow their decline in the UK.