Exciting new wildlife count from Somerset Wildlife Trust and SERC launches to help make wildlife really count

Exciting new wildlife count from Somerset Wildlife Trust and SERC launches to help make wildlife really count

The Big Count 2022 runs from June 17th – 26th, offering the public the chance to help protect local wildlife by recording the species living right on their doorsteps and in their favourite local green spaces.

Somerset Wildlife Trust is delighted to announce the launch of the Big Count 2022, an exciting, Somerset-wide citizen science venture which aims to help monitor changes in local wildlife populations by encouraging as many people as possible to take note of and record the species living in their gardens, parks, and communities. The count hopes to inspire participants to get outside and connect with nature and the county’s amazing wildlife and, at the same time, become important eyes and ears on the ground as they collect vital data about some of Somerset’s native species in order to help inform the work that's needed to stop further species declines.

The Big Count is part of the Great Somerset Wildlife Count initiative, a joint venture between Somerset Wildlife Trust and Somerset Environmental Record Centre (SERC).  SERC holds over 2.5 million records of species present in Somerset but there are gaps in its knowledge about more ‘common’ species, and it hopes the Big Count 2022 will help fill those gaps and in turn provide important information about the health of the ecosystems that exist to support them, ensuring county-led decisions are being made with wildlife in mind. Earlier this year, the two organisations hosted their first wildlife count within this initiative, which encouraged the public to record important data about frog and toadspawn populations. The Big Count 2022 comes after the success of this initial project, which gained support from over 100 participants, and will become an annual event to be held each summer.

This year, the Big Count will run from June 17th – 26th.  For a period of one hour in the day (and it can be done every day as long as it’s in different places each time), the public are being asked to record their wildlife sightings on the popular iNaturalist citizen science platform for 8 individual species of wildlife and any species within 4 whole species groups, which includes goldfinch, dragonflies, spiders, and several species of butterfly. This is an activity for everyone to get involved in whether family, friends, neighbours, school, social group, scout group, or congregation.  People will be able to see their sightings on the iNaturalist map immediately. There is a FREE downloadable pack which explain everything that people need to know on the Somerset Wildlife Trust website.

Leon DeBell, SERC Manager says, “During the pandemic we know that people have opened their eyes to nature and wildlife — whether on their doorstep or in their local green space — so this is a brilliant way to extend and nurture that nature connection and think about the relationships they have with wildlife and, at a time where so many more people are now asking, “what can I do to make a difference”, it’s something simple to do that really can make a difference. When it comes to records, it’s quite literally a numbers game, so we want as many people taking part as possible – we can’t do this without the public behind the Big Count so we want everyone to spread the word.”

How to get involved:

  1. Go to https://www.somersetwildlife.org/wildlife/great-somerset-wildlife-count/big-count-2022 and download your FREE  digital pack.
  2. Create an iNaturalist account at https://www.inaturalist.org/ or download either the iNaturalist or Seek app.
  3. Get counting! Do as many counts as you can in different places and encourage as many people as you can to do the same.
  4. That’s it — you’ve just contributed important data to wildlife trends in Somerset!

Don’t forget to tag @SomersetWT and @somersetERC in any social media updates, and use the hashtag #GreatSomersetWildlifeCount!




For interviews and further information, please contact Emily Weatherburn on 01823 652 400 emily.weatherburn@somersetwildlife.org

You can follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @SomersetWT or Facebook on @SomersetWildlifeTrust

Photo: Caption

Images are attached for use with this news release.  They are granted on a one-time use basis, in association with this release and the photographer must be credited. More images available on request.


About Somerset Wildlife Trust

Somerset Wildlife Trust is a nature conservation charity. Its purpose is to restore and protect the populations of species across the county and the habitats they call home. Climate change is one of the greatest threats to nature, natural habitats and the ecosystems that support our life on earth.  Our aims are to help address both the ecological and climate crises and put nature back into people’s lives.

Nature reserves and protected sites on their own are not enough. In order to reverse the decline in species’ diversity and abundance, and create resilient landscapes and habitats for wildlife and for people that can adapt to climate change, we need to

  • encourage and support landowners to manage their land positively for nature; create more space for nature;
  • connect wildlife-rich spaces across the wider landscape to create a robust Nature Recovery Network for Somerset; and
  • create a movement of people – at least 1 in 4 – that take action for nature’s recovery across Somerset as part of Team Wilder. 

This is at the core of our new 10-year strategy. Nationally the Wildlife Trusts are calling for at least 30% of land to be managed positively for nature by 2030. What we do in Somerset must contribute to that national ambition. You can read our full 10 year strategy, Wilder Somerset here.