From buzzing bees to dazzling dragonflies – a leading environmental charity is making it easy for Devonshire residents to learn all about garden creatures this National Insect Week (June 19-25).
The Field Studies Council, which operates the Slapton Ley field study centre at Kingsbridge, has created a number of easy-to-use online resources to help people identify and learn about a range of wildlife on their doorsteps.
Olivia Watts, one of the charity’s biodiversity specialists, said: 'We’re really excited to encourage and help as many people as possible this National Insect Week to get outdoors and learn more about the little creatures which live in their gardens and inhabit local parks and green spaces.
'We’re very fortunate in the UK to have such a rich and varied abundance of insects living on our doorstep and the more people that know about them, the more they will want to help protect them for future generations.
'We’ve put together an online package of easy-to-use resources including videos and infographics on how to start identifying insects, as well as a range of free downloadable guides on insect recording so that people can actively take part in this important awareness week and we hope lots of people will get involved.'
The Field Studies Council is a national leader in training individuals in the specific skills needed to accurately identify and record different invertebrate species.
It headed up the nationwide BioLinks project – a five-year-long National Lottery Heritage Funded scheme to train people in invertebrate identification and biological recording.
The successful project, which came to an end earlier this year, provided training courses at a range of locations and online during the Covid pandemic.
It resulted in more than 64,000 additional biological records being submitted to the national database – a central system which stores information about wildlife sightings from across the UK.
Olivia said: 'This project was a huge success and one which we want to continue to build on by sparking people’s interest in nature and wildlife this National Insect Week.
'Records that were submitted as part of the BioLinks project and any new ones submitted to these databases during National Insect Week can be used by researchers and wider organisations to influence conservation policy, site management plans and inform other studies so this work is hugely important.'
The charity also has a library of more than 90 different fold-out Wild ID guides covering everything from bees to winter coastal birds for people interested in learning about more specific species. For further information, click here. National Insect Week is an annual campaign organised by the Royal Entomological Society with support from partner organisations to encourage more people to learn about insects.