24 May 2012

What YOU Can Do for Wildlife: Part 4&5

In Froglife’s list of 12 actions to help amphibians and reptiles in 2012 we've been showing there’s lots of different ways to get involved. This time, it’s all about spending some time finding out how the animals are getting on in two linked actions - spotting wildlife and sharing your sightings.

Idea Number 4. Get Out and About Spotting Wildlife
A tiny toadlet spotted emerging from a pond in summer
There are animals and plants all around us, getting on with their lives far away from ours, or tucked in the corners close to our busiest human habitats.  Starting to spot and notice them can range from taking a bit longer to look as you make your way to work to going out to going out into the wilderness for more of an adventure.

"I was a bit of a fair weather explorer until I got a pair of wellies!" says Froglife's Sam Taylor.  "Being warm and dry when you're out and about makes a huge difference.  If you are prepared, you can wildilfe watch almost anywhere - whether it's setting up a comfy chair to watch the birds in your garden, or a back pack to go off rambling for the day."

Sometimes populations of amphibians and reptiles (and other animals) are in need of protection, so information on their location will be kept secret.  In plenty of other cases though you can find out what you might see before you head out.  Don't be disappointed if you don't see your hoped for animal on your first visit!

- Tips on the main amphibian and reptile species you might see when out and about are available on the Froglife website here
- There are some great reptile spotting tips on the South West Wales Amphibian and Reptile Group here
- The Woodland Trust, Wildife Trusts and Wildfowl and Wetland Trust have lots of information about visiting their nature reserves and sites on their websites
- You can also join us on the 30th of June for a Reptile Safari at Hampton Nature Reserve in Peterborough.  For more information contact rebecca.neal@froglife.org

Idea Number 5.  Become a Citizen Scientist

There simply is never enough data and information on how amphibians and reptiles are getting on, in local areas or as a bigger picture across the UK. With digital technology, it’s getting easier and easier for you to contribute to surveys and recording.

Froglifer Rob Williams volunteers as well as working for Froglife, knowing how important new herpetological records can be. “I do lots of hill walking and always keep my eye out for herps when out and about,” explains Rob. “I already have a couple of new reptile records for areas in Scotland where they were previously not found.”

There are a number of different ways you can get involved in surveys and citizen science:

- You can sign up for the National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme here
- You can add amphibian and reptile sightings to the Amphibian and Reptile Groups Record Pool here
- Add your Toad Patrol data for the 2012 patrol season here

Found a fantastic survey or thinking of setting one up? We’d love to hear more about it.  Let us know on Twitter or Facebook here

Photo: Lucy Benyon

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