Recording for Nature's Calendar during the coronavirus pandemic - latest advice

Judith Garforth, 20/03/2020

Dear Nature’s Calendar citizen scientists

It's a busy time of year for nature and we know how much recording the signs of spring means to many of you. It lifts our spirits to see the flowers blooming, butterflies a flutter, birds nesting and the bright green leaves on trees beginning to unfurl.

At this unprecedented time we wanted to update you on recording for Nature’s Calendar over the coming season. The Woodland Trust is doing everything it can to support the rest of the UK to limit the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately this means cancelling all volunteering that is outside the home with immediate effect.

The Nature’s Calendar citizen science project will continue to run during the coronavirus pandemic, however you should only record the species in your garden (if you’re lucky enough to have one) or the species that you can see from the view from your window.

Please do not feel obliged to continue recording at all. No one will be letting us down by discontinuing their Nature’s Calendar records. As ever, we are very grateful for your support and understanding and we are here to help in any way we can.

The government is advising on essential travel only and the Woodland Trust does not want to encourage volunteers to make any non-essential trips outside of their homes at this time to carry out their volunteering activities. So, although it might be tempting to plan your ‘one session of allowed outdoor exercise per day’ to visit the locations that you normally record for Nature’s Calendar, we ask that you don’t actively seek opportunities to use this time to record for the project.

Recording at home

Record the date that you first mow your lawn this spring (Photo: Ben Lee)

Watch the birds from your window. Can you spot a blackbird building a nest? (Photo: Margaret Welby)

Has the sunshine woken up any butterflies? (Photo: Amy Lewis)

You can record for Nature’s Calendar from your window! You might be lucky enough to have a nest box in view, so you might be able to record garden birds nesting and taking food to their young. Some of you may even have installed a nest box with a camera so that you can view nesting activity from the comfort of your homes! You might be able to see a tree from your window and notice when it flowers and when it grows its first leaves this spring. The sun is out today and I’ve just seen my first peacock butterfly of the season fluttering outside my window. I’ll be recording that sighting for the project!

Recording for Nature’s Calendar is definitely possible if you have a garden. You can record the date that you first mow your lawn this spring. You can look out for birds and insects and if you have a pond you can record frogspawn and tadpoles.

Here's a link to our phenology calendar, which lists all of the Nature's Calendar species that you can record and gives you an idea of which natural events may be unfolding near you right now.

Can you see a tree from your window? Record the date of budburst, flowering and first leaf (Photo: Judith Garforth)

If you have a pond in your garden you can record the date that you first spot tadpoles (Photo: Margaret Barton)

Look out for a 7-spot ladybird in your garden (Photo: Clare Topping)

Keeping in touch

The Trust’s offices remain closed in Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England. You can contact us here and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Our thoughts are with you and we wish you and your families good health during this challenging period. We will keep in touch via this blog and share recorder photos as spring progresses. You can also keep in touch using our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Please do share your spring photos with us - we know how important staying connected to nature is and that this might be difficult for many during this time. We will do what we can to share the signs of spring and in doing so hopefully help us all to take some solace in nature's continuity and restorative powers.

Best wishes
Judith Garforth and Lorienne Whittle
Nature's Calendar Citizen Science Officers

Peacock butterfly

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