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Everyone’s a scientist – and here are some places to start

Posted by on June 20, 2014

flying ant surveyby Rebecca Nesbit, co-ordinater of the Society of Biology’s flying ant survey

As flying ants take to the skies and the suntan cream is finally needed, it seems like time to share information on the many ways to get involved with citizen science projects.

Collecting data about when and where different species can be found is often such a huge task that it is beyond the capacity of professional scientists. Thankfully, many amateur scientists have risen to the challenge, and below I have listed some of the ways you can be one of them.

On 5th July the Society of Biology is organising a BioBlitz in partnership with the London Wildlife Trust – please join us! Data from the day will go to the local biological records office.

If you are an aspiring naturalist, amateur or professional, there will be lots of experts on hand at the BioBlitz, and organisations such as Bumblebee Conservation Trust or local bat groups provide valuable training. You will also meet experts at events listed on the National Insect Week website.

Please submit any flying ant sightings to our flying ant survey.

You can record ladybird sightings on the UK Ladybird Survey website, or on their app. They also have a guide for ladybird identification.

Slugwatch: report your Spanish Slug sightings with #slugwatch.

Learn more about local wildlife with OPAL, and join their biodiversity survey.

You can test your nature knowledge with the OPAL Urban Safari game.

The National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme provides resources for budding surveyors to go out and record amphibians and reptiles by themselves and submit sightings to the website.

The Woodland Trust hosts Nature’s Calendar, a place where volunteers can record their sightings of the changing seasons and the effects that climate change might be having on our wildlife.

In addition to its annual Big Butterfly Count, Butterfly Conservation has year round monitoring schemes for moths and butterflies.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust has a recording scheme and can help with identification.

If you are an experienced taxonomist, or keen to become one, the Biological Records Centre provides contact details of recording groups.

Buglife has surveys of beetles and aphids.

You can record trees with the Treezilla app.

The British Trust for Ornithology has an app ‘BirdTrack‘ for recording bird sightings.

The Countryside Job Service lists more surveys you can get involved with.

If you would rather stay inside, you can transcribe museum records with Notes from Nature.

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