Conservationists have urged the people of Sheffield to become ‘citizen scientists’ to help with a two-year research project.
The Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust is leading the Nature Counts scheme, which aims to give the city an ‘ecological health check’.
Backed by almost £100,000 of Heritage Lottery Fund money, the project brings together Sheffield’s universities, Museums Sheffield, the city council and natural history specialist groups.
But the project will not work without the general public, who are being encouraged to carry out research and help create a picture of the wildlife across Sheffield.
Nature Counts ties in with Sheffield’s drive to be seen as The Outdoor City, encouraging people to get outside and enjoy the city’s varied environment.
The trust’s engagement officer Paul Richards said: “It’s vital we have a more accurate account of the wildlife present in Sheffield – including birds, butterflies and insects – so that we can better monitor changes and to inform our work to improve their habitats.
“Sheffield people can help by recording the animals in their back gardens, as well as getting involved in more challenging surveys.”
One of the Nature Counts species of focus is the otter. Through the trust’s Otterly Amazing appeal, £20,000 was raised to train teams of volunteers to spot signs of the creatures.
The trust is also using motion-sensitive cameras and DNA sampling to paint a clearer picture of the otter population along the River Don.
Project manager Nicky Rivers said: “The Nature Counts project provides another opportunity to get involved in a practical and enjoyable way, in order to better understand and protect local wildlife for the future.”
A Nature Counts launch event at the trust’s headquarters in Stafford Road, Park Hill, will take place today from 6.30pm.
Visit www.wildsheffield.com to book a place.