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Call for lockdown nature stories on Biodiversity Day

Wader flock on a quieter beach at Forvie. (Catriona Reid SNH)

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) are celebrating today’s International Day of Biological Diversity by calling on people to share their memorable stories and images of nature during lockdown.

The organisation wants to hear personal experiences of nature during this time when more people are appreciating the outdoors and animals are adapting to the changes in human movement. Stories can include spotting something new you’ve never noticed before, unusual wildlife, changes to nature locally or finding a deeper connection with the natural world.

Gathering a people’s record of nature during lockdown will complement longer-term scientific research into the state of nature and the forces influencing it.

SNH is also keen to encourage and support people to develop their interest, learn more and get involved in citizen science. Staff have produced an online guide to the many nature surveys and activities that people can get involved in from their home, garden or out on a local walk. Citizen science is key in helping to expand scientific knowledge, especially now when much professional field work is restricted.

Professor Des Thompson, SNH’s Principal Adviser on Science and Biodiversity, said: “The true impact of Coronavirus restrictions on nature will of course take some time to establish, and there are likely to be both positive and negative impacts.

“The overwhelming positive is that so many people seem to be noticing and connecting much more with nature, and we’d love to hear any unusual or interesting nature moments that the public have experienced during the lockdown.

“Over the past few weeks we have certainly been seeing animals which are sensitive to disturbance returning to areas they formerly occupied, as well as being more active in the daytime.

“We’ve heard stories of coastal waders benefiting from quieter beaches, roe deer moving closer to populated areas, mammals such as pine martens and badgers becoming more active during daytime and foxes and other urban wildlife moving about more in cities.

“We urge everyone who can to take the next step and get involved in recording and monitoring nature. Citizen science is not only an enjoyable way to make space for nature in your day, but is also crucial to help us understand and improve the state of Scotland’s nature for the future.”

People can email their stories and images (along with their full name and location) to: BIODIVERSITY@nature.scot

A full list of citizen science activities that can be enjoyed during lockdown can be found on the NHS website, at: https://www.nature.scot/scotlands-biodiversity/biodiversity-what-can-you-do/citizen-science-biodiversity

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