Nature is under threat all over the world. We have heard of insect populations collapsing, endangered species, the dangers of microplastics to all life forms and that the UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world.
What are we doing?
At Just Transition Wakefield, we have a nature group who are beginning a citizen science project called the ‘Just Transition Wakefield Nature Watch’ to map nature throughout the Wakefield district. We are asking groups, families, schools and individuals to help us. Anyone and everyone can join in.
We are using the popular biodiversity recording website/app iNaturalist to collate the records. You can register and start to use iNaturalist to submit your own records by visiting their website here.
Visit the Just Transition Wakefield Nature Watch project page on iNaturalist here to see what has been recorded in the district already. From the main project page you can access our sub projects which currently separate the records by year and display BoCC Red List birds and poisonous plants that have been recorded within the district within their own map. We have recently visited The Addy in Knottingley to talk about how the project can be used to record biodiversity at their site and have created them their own sub project to display their records. We will also add additional sub projects as the project develops, and as friends and partners come up with their own projects including planned events such as a local “Bioblitz”.
How can you join in?
Everyone can become citizen scientists and contribute to the project simply by signing up to the iNaturalist platform and submitting records of the plants, animals, insects and more that they encounter. This can be via the website or the mobile app. To be included within our project the record must have the following:
● a photo or a sound
● a date/time
● a location (this works best when the location visibility is left as the default ‘open’)
The record must not be of a captive or cultivated living thing and to be included, the location must
fall within the Wakefield district boundary. Of course you can record and upload pictures from anywhere, but they will not get drawn into our project if they are outside of the Wakefield district.
Please note: When you create an account on iNaturalist you are able to select “Yes, license my photos and observations so that they can be used by scientists” please select this option to set the default license to CC BY-NC. If you would like to make your records available to even more organisations then please consider setting your default licence to CC0 or CC BY. You can find more information on this here).
iNaturalist will suggest a species or group of species based on the evidence provided. If you can identify the species based on these suggestions then please add the species to the record. If you want to take things a step further, you can help other users to identify the living things that they have recorded. The data is strongest when a record has been identified by 2 or 3 different users. If you are interested in doing this, it would be great if you could look at any recent records that show on our project page as ‘needing ID’ and contribute to the record with your identification.
Why join in?
There are many benefits to using iNaturalist. As we collect and build records, we can learn more about the world around us and develop a deeper bond with nature. As a nature organisation we can use the data to evaluate the nature in our district. We have lots of ideas for projects that can involve individuals, schools, communities, gardeners, farmers – why not follow our Just Transition Wakefield Nature Watch facebook page here to keep up to date with the latest news and events or use the contact link at the bottom of the page to tell us about your own ideas!