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Plant spotters sought

Friday 5th May 2017, 10:57am

A plant conservation scheme is looking for volunteers to help survey remote areas of Scotland.

The National Plant Monitoring Scheme is set to run for a number of years, monitoring and developing understanding of what is happening in different habitats across the UK. It has alre4ady been running for two survey seasons and has gained over 900 volunteers.

Volunteer support officer Jill Williams said: “There are still opportunities to get involved with the scheme as a volunteer. In fact the more volunteers we have the more information is generated, allowing us to get an even better understanding of what is happening in the landscape. We are looking for volunteers right across Scotland, particularly in more rural areas of the Highlands/north, the west, and the south-west of Scotland.”

The scheme is a partnership between Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI); Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC); Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and British conservation charity Plantlife, and is backed by the government. Volunteers are recruited and supported to survey five plots in a kilometre square close to where they live. The plots will be surveyed twice a year. The kilometre squares to monitor have been identified by stratified random sampling. The plants have been chosen as indicators of the health of individual habitats. There are three survey levels for volunteers to choose from, depending on confidence and knowledge, and support is provided through web-based and printed materials, email and telephone support, and free training courses.

Last year over 200 squares were surveyed by volunteers around Scotland, a 35% increase over the previous year. However there are still lots of squares available for surveying.

The scheme is running free one-day Introduction to NPMS workshops at venues around Scotland. These are open to anyone interested in the survey or who are already signed up. Go to http://www.npms.org.uk/content/training-and-events  to register your details and book a place. The dates and venues for 2017 are:

  • Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfries & Galloway (Sat 20th May)
  • Corpach, nr Fort William (Sat 3rd June)
  • Kindrogan FSC, nr Blairgowrie, Perthshire (Sat 10th June)
  • Nethy Bridge, Inverness-shire (Tues 13th June)
  • Kirkton, Crianlarich, Perthshire (Sat 17th June)

For information about the survey or to sign up, visit www.npms.org.uk   If you have specific queries, email jill.williams@plantlife.org.uk or support@npms.org.uk  

Starry Saxifrage, by Bert Barnett