Thursday, 20 March 2014

Making Wildflowers Count this Spring

Sue Southway
Volunteer and Survey Coordinator

The first day of spring is officially upon us. March 20th is the vernal equinox when the hours of darkness are the same as those of daylight. Time for us all to look forward to longer evenings, warmer temperatures. Spring is definitely in the air.

Where I live in the south west corner of Hampshire there are already early signs: lesser celandines are brightening up the roadsides, blackthorn is blossoming in the hedgerows and pussy willow - with the amount of pollen it produces - is making me sneeze!  The bumble bees are busy seeking any nectar they can find and Brimstone and Peacock butterflies are in flight.

Personally I am looking forward to going for walks, and to paying a visit to my Wildflowers Count survey square in the New Forest.

It is no coincidence that Plantlife chooses the spring equinox to launch their annual wild flower survey - the only of its kind in the UK. What better way to get to know an area, its habitats and the plants that grow in them? And now its about to become bigger and better.

One of our surveyors in Scotland
We’ve joined up with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and The Botanical Society of the Britain and Ireland (BSBI) in a joint effort to provide more robust data that will feed directly into Government monitoring. Our familiar list of 99 species is about to be expanded to 400 (with suitably extended ID leaflet to boot).

2014 is a transition year ahead of the fully-fledged roll out next year. Anyone wanting to more information or to register to take part in the Wildflowers Count can find out more here. We’ll keep you up to date with changes as they happen.

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