Environmental groups call for help from local residents

Take the City Nature Challenge and help record the region’s wildlife.

The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, EcoRecord and Birmingham Museums Trust are calling for local residents to take part in the City Nature Challenge and help showcase the rich diversity of wildlife across Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

This global citizen science project takes place between Friday 30th April and Monday 3rd May 2021 and anyone can get involved by downloading the free iNaturalist app from inaturalist.org or from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Simply take a photo of any wild plant or animal and upload it to the app where the species-recognition software helps with identification. Any wildlife counts including birds, mammals, insects, trees, flowers, amphibians, reptiles, fungi, moss and lichen.

Birmingham and the Black Country took part for the first time in 2020, recording over 1,300 species – more than any other European city area. 244 cities took part across the world and Birmingham and the Black Country placed 31st by number of species recorded ahead of all other UK cities that took part. Some of the highlights of 2020 challenge recorded by Birmingham and Black Country residents included weasel, red kite and otter poo as well as the area’s first record of a rare box bug (gonocerus acuteangulatus).

Whilst the results showed just how diverse the wildlife of Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton is, nature is still in trouble. The latest State of Nature report highlights that 41% of UK species are in decline. Hedgehog numbers have fallen from 30 million in 1950 to just one million and 41% of insect species face extinction.

EcoRecord, the Local Environmental Records Centre want to encourage local residents to record wildlife all year round as this data helps them to work with the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country to plan for nature’s recovery locally.

Lukas Large, Curator of Natural Science, Birmingham Museums Trust said: “The natural world is changing faster than ever before. New species are appearing in our region and the warming climate is altering when plants flower and animals emerge in spring. City Nature Challenge is a fantastic opportunity to help us understand how nature is changing in Birmingham and the Black Country.”

Andy Slater, Biodiversity Information Officer, EcoRecord added: “All the records submitted through the City Nature Challenge are incredibly valuable in shaping nature’s recovery across Birmingham and the Black Country and we need residents to keep recording wildlife all year round.”