Natural Dynamic Data
As part of #PostcodeClimateChallenge, Nature's Calendar, a citizen-science project run by the Woodland Trust, is being supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery.
Within the project, thousands of volunteers from across the UK look out for seasonal changes in their local area then note the timing of these changes on the Nature's Calendar website. It's things like snowdrops flowering in spring, blackberries ripening in summer, leaves changing colour in autumn and birds migrating in winter. All records added to the website go directly into the Nature's Calendar database.
There are 69 different trees, shrubs, flowers, birds, grasses and fungi to record for the project and seasonal events all year round. You can record wildlife in any habitat too, for example in a garden, a local park, a street tree, or a woodland. Anyone in the UK can take part and you don't need to be a scientist!
The Nature's Calendar database contains almost 3 million records, dating back to 1736, and is used by scientists to investigate what effect recent weather is having on wildlife and provides crucial evidence about the effects of climate change on wildlife too.
As a direct result of data from Nature's Calendar recordings, we know that spring is happening on average 8.4 days earlier now, than in the first part of the 20th century.
Changes to the timings of seasonal events can threaten our wildlife, throwing nature out of step and leading to mismatches in food chains. For example, during warmer springs oak leaves unfurl earlier, and the caterpillars that feed on these leaves also hatch earlier. However, blue tits aren't as reactive to the warm weather, and their chicks, which rely on the caterpillars as a food source, don't hatch earlier enough to keep up. This can have a negative effect on breeding success.
Darren Moorcroft, CEO at the Woodland Trust, said, "Data from Nature's Calendar is used by researchers worldwide to explore the effects of climate change and weather on timings in nature. As we tackle the climate and biodiversity crises, this data has never been more important. Huge thanks to everyone recording and to players of People's Postcode Lottery for their incredible ongoing support of our vital work."
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