Calling all CSJK surveyors - would you like to be a Naturalist?

No, we are not talking about taking your clothes off! That would be naturism. No, this is an opportunity to become part of a UK-wide network of like-minded botanical detectives – and we hope you will want to be involved.

Most of the PCA invasive weed group members spend long hours in the field looking at plants. Somewhat focussed on non-native alien species obviously but, in the main, if you are going to recognise Japanese knotweed and 70 or more other terrestrial and aquatic species you will have developed reasonably good general botanical skills. Can we put these skills to good use in other ways?

Knowledge share through the National Biodiversity Network

Last week there was an initiative organised by a group called The Climate Coalition primarily focussed on raising awareness/encouraging engagement at a local level on two very broad environmental challenges; climate and biodiversity (The Great Big Green Week). Several wildlife charities were involved as partners, including NBN – the National Biodiversity Network.

Many of our invasive weed members will know NBN as the source of virtually all UK records regarding species distribution and this is incredibly useful to us when we seek authoritative data about the spread of invasive species.

Get involved on the app!

NBN used The Great Big Green week to promote their new portal for records and sightings to be uploaded to their database – “a national BioBlitz iNaturalist app”. iNaturalist allows anyone with a camera and access to the internet to share nature observations.

Every observation can contribute to biodiversity science and add to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility which helps scientists all over the world find and use species distribution data. All you have to do is observe and upload!

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If altruism isn’t enough of a stimulus, here’s a really useful benefit: If you see something ‘interesting’ but you don’t know what it is, your image can be shared with a wide community of experienced botanists (“crowdsource identifications”). We hope some of you are already using it and that many more will get involved too. There is a community aspect to this and we know a lot of you will enjoy the chance to network with other like-minded folk.

Biodiversity on a global stage

The UK is hosting COP26 in Glasgow soon so biodiversity will be a big subject of discussion on a global stage. Lets hope this raises awareness of the damage caused by non-native invasive species and we can all play our part, giving political decision makers the hard data they need on which to base future decisions on legislation and funding.

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