Green spaces count - and community involvement is crucial

Primroses in Victoria Park, Paignton mark the coming of spring and warmer days.

Primroses in Victoria Park, Paignton, mark the coming of spring and warmer days. - Credit: Torbay Park Ranger, SWISCo 

Times change, and whether it’s the switch to British Summer Time marking a change of season, or a National Census to measure and assess how our country has changed over the last decade, we humans do tend to like to measure and mark such things.

We are not so different when it comes to the natural world.

An ecological survey is not quite the same as a census, but it is a way of taking a snapshot of a population at a particular time. 

By measuring, counting and then analysing the data collected, we can better understand how population size, dispersal and so on alter over time - and the impacts that certain events and changes have on them. 

Some may look at the negative, such as the impacts that climate change or Ash Die Back are having on our wildlife and green spaces.

While others may be focussed on the impacts of more positive or pro-active initiatives, such as the re-introduction of species, managing more areas for wildlife or the banning of neonicotinoid-containing insecticides. 

Groundwork South works with partner organisations to help survey and gather data on species, habitats and environmental conditions and we understand that for these surveys to take place community involvement is crucial. 

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This is why the informal training sessions that we are planning to deliver in the Bay will include support for anyone wanting to learn about wildlife and ecological surveying or maybe just wanting to get involved in Citizen Science projects like the Big Butterfly Count or Big Garden Bird Watch.

As for marking how times change, maybe this helps us humans to move from one time to another, to transition in a way that does not forget what has gone before but allows us to move forward.

Perhaps we should think about marking the transition from lockdown to the easing of restrictions – that happily comes with longer, warmer spring days – by taking stock of how the green spaces around us are doing? 

To find out more about Green Space groups in Torbay please contact Hannah Worthington on 07940510616 or email hannah.worthington@groundwork.org.uk