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Highlanders asked to share nature stories and photos

By Tom Ramage

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Scottish Natural Heritage is calling on Highlanders to share their memorable stories and images of nature during lockdown.

Many report finding solace in the natural world and being more interested in nature as their lives have slowed down, with less travelling and more people walking and cycling daily.

Everyone has a story to tell (Lorne Gill, SNH)
Everyone has a story to tell (Lorne Gill, SNH)

To celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity today (May 22), SNH wants to hear people’s personal experiences of nature in lockdown, whether that is spotting something new, unusual wildlife, changes to nature locally or finding a deeper connection with the natural world.

"Gathering a people’s record of nature during lockdown will complement longer-term scientific research into our growing understanding of the state of nature and the forces influencing it," said Professor Des Thompson, the organisation's principal advisor on science and biodiversity.

The nature agency is also keen to encourage and support people to develop their interest, learn more and get involved in citizen science.

Staff have produced an online guide to the many nature surveys and activities that people can get involved in from their home, garden or out on a local walk.

Especially now when much professional field work is restricted, citizen science is key in helping to expand our scientific knowledge.

ProfessorThompson said: “The true impact of coronavirus restrictions on nature will of course take some time to establish, and there are likely to be both positive and negative impacts.

“The overwhelming positive is that so many people seem to be noticing and connecting much more with nature, and we’d love to hear any unusual or interesting nature moments that the public have experienced during the lockdown.

“Over the past few weeks we have certainly been seeing animals which are sensitive to disturbance returning to areas they formerly occupied, as well as being more active in the daytime.

Roe deer have become more visible during lockdown (Lorne Gill, SNH)
Roe deer have become more visible during lockdown (Lorne Gill, SNH)

“We’ve heard stories of coastal waders benefiting from quieter beaches, roe deer moving closer to populated areas, mammals such as pine martens and badgers becoming more active during daytime and foxes and other urban wildlife moving about more in cities.

“We urge everyone who can to take the next step and get involved in recording and monitoring nature. Citizen science is not only an enjoyable way to make space for nature in your day, but is also crucial to help us understand and improve the state of Scotland’s nature for the future.”

People can submit their stories and images to BIODIVERSITY@nature.scot. They should include a full name and location.

A full list of citizen science activities that can be enjoyed during lockdown can be found here: https://www.nature.scot/scotlands-biodiversity/biodiversity-what-can-you-do/citizen-science-biodiversity

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