What natural things can you find in your garden, in your local park or on a walk near your house? In this nature survey we are going to find out!
What to do
Take a wire coat-hanger and bend it so that you have a square shape to define the area of your survey. You will need one for each person conducting the nature survey.
Choose the area where you are going to do your survey, then select a square by placing your coat hanger. You could do this at random by throwing the coat-hanger over your shoulder. Or you could choose your square more deliberately.
Now it’s time to check out all the things that are within your square. How many types of plant have you contained in your square? Are there any bugs? What about evidence of bigger animals?
Why don’t you have a go at identifying the plants and insects that you find? Are there any you recognise? If there are some you don’t, you could try looking them up online. If you live in the UK or Ireland then check out these resources made by Discover the Wild. There are also loads of links and suggestions for identifying plants from the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. The Woodland Trust has some great resources for identifying bugs too!
Once you have worked out what everything is, you can count them and make a record of what you found.
Perhaps you could use the things you found in your square to make up a story. Or maybe imagine that your square is a window into a magical alternative universe… What are the fantastical things that you can see there? Can you find dinosaur bones? (They might look like sticks to the untrained eye). In this imaginative version, you could scout around and find some extra wonderful things to go into your magical universe — What picture can you create?
Take it further
Try doing the survey in different places or in the same place at another time in the year. What are the differences in your results?
You could try setting up your own biodiversity area or bug hotel to encourage more variety of species. Wait a few weeks and do your survey again — have your changes affected the results?
Find out about bigger surveys like BeeWatch or bioblitz. Is there an event near you that you could take part in?