The gold award of our gardening for wildlife scheme asks that you name 2 activities that you have done to see what animals or plants are present in your garden as a result of your efforts to make it a suitable place for them to live, raise young, or just pass by. It should give satisfaction that you are helping to conserve biodiversity, even on a small scale, and also enjoyment in observing the creatures that are making use of your space.
We want to be flexible in the activities that can be counted as valid for a gold award. The most obvious ones are citizen science projects such as:
RSPB – Big Garden Birdwatch https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/ (January)
Big Butterfly count https://bigbutterflycount.butterfly-conservation.org/ (Late July/August)
UK Ladybird Survey – https://www.coleoptera.org.uk/coccinellidae/home/
Bumblebee Walk – https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/surveys/
Big Pond Dip – https://freshwaterhabitats.org.uk/get-involved-2/big-pond-dip/
Counting flowers for pollinators https://www.plantlife.org.uk/everyflowercounts/
However you may want to focus on your own way of recording. The following are ways used by local people in their gardens, according to their interests and all would be valid for the gold award.
- Chris pressed examples of the different species from his wild flower area and each year looks out for new species to add.
- Simon keeps a list of bird species seen from the garden since he moved in.
- Mark spends time sitting and watching. He googles more information about what he sees to build up his appreciation and knowledge.
- Ann records the date of the first butterfly of each species seen in her garden each year.
- Daisy keeps a photographic log of birds seen from her bedroom window.
- Cat uses the iNaturalist app to record wildlife observations of all types https://www.inaturalist.org/, so that others can see what is around by looking online.
If you are in doubt about whether a particular activity would count towards the gold award, contact us for advice.
By Ann Stuart