Citizen Science - Monlife

What is Citizen Science?

Citizen science is scientific research carried out using participation from the public to help gather data.

In order to monitor the success of our projects, we need to collect lots of information about our grasslands and the plants and animals that use them. Nature isn’t Neat covers a huge area within Gwent and we would struggle to this by ourselves, so we need your help!

Citizen science projects are a great way to learn more about wildlife in your local area and at the same time helps us to look after it for future generations.

We have two projects you could get involved with.

Help us record the health of grasslands within Gwent

Grasslands are hugely important habitats for pollinators and many other species and are often overlooked.

The Nature isn’t Neat approach to grassland management aims to restore grasslands and encourage the growth of native wildflower species, which in turn provide food for pollinating insects.

We would like to monitor grasslands within Gwent over the next few years and see how the management changes we have been making are affecting the plant communities.

We’re looking for volunteers to help count the flowers that are establishing within their local grasslands. We’d like volunteers to monitor a local grassland patch (or patches!) with a few visits a year to see how many different species of plant are growing there.

It’s easy to do and volunteers will get to know their local patch and how it changes over the course of a year.

Using our handy wildflower spotter guide, all you need to do is spend 10 minutes identifying the different plant species within a 1m x 1m patch of grassland and fill on our online form.

Further details of the survey can be found in our survey guidelines.

We would like the survey to be done a few times throughout the year, in spring, summer and autumn to record all the plant species that may appear at different times.

Help us record bees and butterflies

Pollinating insects play a vital role in our environment, ensuring that many of our crops and wild plants are able to set seed and produce fruit.

We want to understand how our management changes are benefitting pollinating insects.

We’re looking for eager volunteers to help monitor what bees, hoverflies and other flower-visiting insects are using our new meadow areas on road verges, parks and amenity grassland.

It’s simple, quick and doesn’t require any specialist knowledge – it’s an easy way to start to learn about nature in your community.

The 10-minute FIT (Flower-Insect Timed Count) Count

Nature isn’t Neat is using the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme’s FIT Count, a national biological recording method, to record the abundance of pollinators in our new meadow areas.

Not only will this tell us a huge amount of information about the effect of our alternative grassland management, but your results will contribute to a national scientific study.

FIT Count

  • Can be done at any location with flowers
  • At any time when weather is good enough, from 1 April to 30 September
  • Choose a patch of target flowers and count all insects landing on them within ten minutes
  • Send in your count results to help build a national picture of pollinator abundance

It’s simple to enter your results, download the FIT Count app or you can use the online or paper recording form from the POMS Website.

Every FIT Count gives us a wealth of information, but if you can carry out several counts at one location over the season that helps us monitor how different insects are using our green spaces during the year.

Go to the FIT Count webpage to take part

The website has videos and instructions on how to do a FIT Count and has identification guides to the target flowers and insects to record.

This post is also available in: Welsh