Largest ever survey of England’s forest wildlife
Forestry England and Michaela Strachan have launched the Big Forest Find and are inviting people to join in.
To celebrate its centenary, Forestry England is encouraging people to discover and celebrate its woodlands’ wildlife with a new citizen science survey.
The Big Forest Find aims to collect data from forests across the country and provide experts with the information needed to manage the land.
“Forests are an amazing environment to see and hear wildlife,” says wildlife TV presenter Michaela Strachan. “From birds nesting, finding food and hunting in the canopy, to the abundance of insects living on the forest floor. There’s usually way more life living in a forest than is noticeable at first glance.”
A series of events across the year are planned at Forestry England locations, where people can learn from experts and take part in activities such as surveying for nocturnal wildlife and bug hunting.
People are also being encourage to visit the forests outside of the events, and to submit data to the citizen science project through the free app iNaturalist.
The app is able to analyse a photograph of wildlife and suggest which species it might be, and the data is verified later by experts.
“The Big Forest Find is a fantastic opportunity for people to get out and explore, and help us discover even more about the animals, insects and plant life in our forests,” says Forestry England ecologist Molly Gorman. “These records are so important in the face of a changing climate, and will help shape how we look after our woodlands for decades to come.”
The centenary year is also being marked by the planting of commemorative tree avenues, a show garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and new works by sculptor Rachel Whiteread and poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy.