To assess whether the options you have implemented have been successful, measuring the outcomes is important. It can also be a great way to get Estate Care and Environment teams and residents more involved in the work you are doing and help them to engage more with nature on your site to help improve their well-being.
Here we discuss some simple ways to do this. Some management options can take several years before the full benefits are seen. So monitoring how things change over longer time periods is important.
Every record counts and will not only help you get a picture of what wildlife is on your site, but can contribute to recording schemes who use the data to tell how well different plants and animals are doing over time. Not every record needs to be identified to species level and no prior experience is needed: everyone can get involved.
https://www.inaturalist.org is a network of naturalists, citizen scientists and biologists. Records of any wildlife (with a photo) can be submitted with a provisional identification to whatever level the recorder feels comfortable. They are then identified by the online community after which they can become part of national and regional recording schemes. This approach not only means residents can start to learn about the wildlife they see, but can also help others learn about the wildlife by helping them identify records as they gain experience themselves.
General recording is appropriate for helping to monitor the success of the biodiversity management options presented in this toolkit. There are also more specific recording schemes targeting particular types of wildlife or to submit records where the recorder has more experience and confidence in the identification of what they are recording.
Further details can be found on the Biological Records Centre (BRC) website at: http://www.brc.ac.uk.
This type of recording is listed as ‘General recording’ under the ‘Monitoring success’ section for each biodiversity management option in this toolkit. Estate Care and Environment teams and residents could also be encouraged to take part in more structured biological recording which help us record wildlife in a standardised way so that we can assess changes to animal and plant populations over time. The schemes provide advice on how to carry out simple and fun surveys and often have free identification tools and mobile apps to submit records of wildlife. They are a great way to monitor changes to wildlife over time on your site and can help to measure the success of any management options put in place.
Examples of information for residents who want to get involved in green activities:
Advice and support for individuals or groups who want to become involved in organic gardening, including local community groups who want help to set up and run organic community gardens http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk.
Government’s adviser for the natural environment, helping protect England’s nature and landscapes for people to enjoy and the services they provide.
Social Farms and Gardens
A UK-wide charity that supports communities to farm, garden and grow together. They offer a wealth of information, in-depth knowledge and advice for groups planning to start a community garden, with a comprehensive Resources Section: http://www.farmgarden.org.uk/resources.
Social Farms & Gardens are a partner in the Green Flag Awards Scheme, working with Keep Britain Tidy, and its respective organisations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales http://www.greenflagaward.org.uk.
The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) Green Gym
TCV created and runs Green Gyms across the UK and offers a number of ways for public sector organisations and local community groups to establish a Green Gym http://www.tcv.org.uk. They also have local volunteer groups who do practical tasks and they also publish practical guides on habitat management and sell trees for planting.