How wild are we?

How wild are we?

Wildflower meadow © Julie Newman

Image taken as part of the remote nature ‘Wildlife Wonder’ photography workshop.

By 2030 Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust want to see a wilder Hampshire and Isle of Wight. We need your help to create a baseline of the wildlife we have now so we can track our progress. We have a good range of records for our nature reserves and the spaces we manage, but we need you to tell us what wildlife you can see from your windows, what visits your balcony and what’s living in your garden. The surveys below can be completed by downloading the PDFs or entering your findings directly onto the online submission forms.

At the end of the survey season, we’ll collate and analyse the data from across our two counties and share it with you so you can find out how wild we are and how you can help us become Wilder.

The records of the plants and animals you provide will be stored at and used by the Trust as part of our ongoing work to record and report on the state of nature in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Where relevant, we will share the data with other recorders such as Hampshire Biodiversity Information Centre (HBIC) to contribute to a larger, more cohesive data set of wildlife locally and nationally.

Our Citizen Science tasks

There are five surveys to complete in the summer and one survey for the winter. You might like to repeat the survey after you’ve made a change to attract more wildlife to your outdoor space, in different weather conditions, or try taking the survey at different times of day.

Winter Window Wildlife Spotter

How many of these 24 species visit your garden or the outdoor space you can see from your window?

What you'll need:

What to do:

  • Go into your garden/sit at your window/on your balcony.
  • Explore. If you can, look under the leaves of plants you have, look in the trees, hunt in the soil (this is especially good for finding the smaller wildlife on the sheet).
  • Take as long as you want, but we recommend an hour or so.
  • Then sit still (this is great with snacks and a drink) and see what comes into your space.
  • Record everything you see on your survey sheet.

Submit your survey results online here 

  • Share photos of what you’re doing on social media using the hashtag #Hampshirewindowwildlife or #Islandwindowwildlife.

Make space for nature: see more wildlife

Want to see more species on your Wildlife Spotter sheet? Spaces that we have at home, no matter how big or small, can all be transformed to create spaces for animals to feed, shelter, and reproduce. The survival of our wildlife is threatened due to habitat destruction and fragmentation, but we can help create new habitats in our residential areas and bring wildlife back.

Invertebrate Insight

Wherever you live you’re bound to find invertebrates. Tell us about the ones you see.  

What you'll need:

  • The survey sheet and a pencil
  • OR enter your results straight onto your phone or tablet with the submission form open
  • ID guides/apps to help you identify what you find (take a look at the bottom of this page for links to our favourites)
  • Bug hunting kit that includes
    • Dustpan and brush
    • A pot (with holes if it's sealed)
    • Remember to let the insect go back once you're done looking at it.

What to do:

  • You can do a mixture of, or all these activities to complete your survey- take as long as you want but we recommend an hour. Count the number of each species that you see.
    • Time your hunt (spend 15 minutes looking for bugs in one part of your survey area, then 15 minutes in another part) – compare what you find 
    • Look in the shady parts of your space and then the places that have lots of sunshine 
    • If you can, find a spot to dig and see what you can find beneath the soil 
    • Sit still (this is great with snacks and a drink) and see what comes into your space- you’ll be able to record flying insects this way.
  • Record everything you see on your survey sheet.

Submit your survey results online here 

  • Share photos of what you’re doing on social media using the hashtag #Hampshirewindowwildlife or #Islandwindowwildlife.

Take action for insects now

 Insects are dying out up to 8 times faster than larger animals and 41% of insect species face extinction.

Two actions that will make a real difference:

  1. STOP killing insects by reducing your use of harmful chemicals at home 
  2. START to create space for insects

Pledge to take action for insects and receive a free guide

Make space for nature: see more insects

Want to see more species on your Invertebrate Insight sheet? Spaces that we have at home, no matter how big or small, can all be transformed to create spaces for animals to feed, shelter, and reproduce. The survival of our wildlife is threatened due to habitat destruction and fragmentation, but we can help create new habitats in our residential areas and bring wildlife back.

Plant Plotter

Draw out a metre square of your garden, or the whole of your balcony or window box. If you can’t get outside look out of the window. Identify what plants you see and how many.

This is a fun survey to do with more people! If you have the space, have each of you pick a square in your garden (front or back or both) and identify the plants there.

What you'll need:

  • A metre ruler or measuring tape
  • Some string or a way to mark your square
  • The survey sheet and a pencil
  • OR enter your results straight onto your phone or tablet with the submission form open
  • ID guides/apps to help you identify what you find (take a look at the bottom of this page for links to our favourites)

What to do:

Measuring 1 meter squared in your garden

Measuring 1 meter squared in your garden

  • Mark out a metre square using the ruler or measuring tape (if you have a balcony or window box tell us about everything that’s growing in there or look out of your window and tell us what you can see). Use a string or other markers to remember where your square is.
Example of how to fill out plant survey

Example of how to fill out plant survey.

  • Take a close look at everything growing- identify everything and record it on your record sheet (plants, flowers & trees).
  • Take as long as you want, but we recommend an hour or so.
  • Record everything you see on your survey sheet.

Submit your survey results online here 

  • Share photos of what you’re doing on social media using the hashtag #Hampshirewindowwildlife or #Islandwindowwildlife.

Make space for nature: grow more plants

Want to increase the biodiversity of your wild spaces? There are so many ways to get creative about planting, no matter how big your space is - even if it's a balcony or a paved patio. Raised beds... window boxes... potted plants... trellises... versatile plants can be grown in an incredible variety of forms to suit even the smallest of spaces. The survival of our wildlife is threatened due to habitat destruction and fragmentation, but we can help create new habitats in our residential areas and bring wildlife back. The plants you grow will also attract a lot more wildlife to your wild space.

Nightlife Survey

Lots of wildlife visits our gardens when we’re usually tucked up inside our houses. As the evenings get longer and warmer spend some time seeing what creatures appear when the sun goes out.

What you'll need:

What to do:

  • Set up your moth trap (and any other equipment you have). 
  • Wait until dusk and then sit still (this is great with snacks and a drink) and see what comes into your survey area. Count the most of any species you see at once.
Daubenton's Bat © Dale Sutton 2020VISION

Daubenton's Bat © Dale Sutton 2020VISION

Bats are the top predators of nocturnal insects so you're likely to see them during your night time survey. Unfortunately, many bat populations in the UK are in decline due to loss of habitat, reduced food supply, destruction of roosts, and disease. 

So please, when you're out on your night time survey, the best and safest way to see a bat is to just sit and watch the sky. Don't go poking about a suspected bat's roost.

For more information visit the Bat Conservation Trust.

  • If you have a pond you can explore carefully with a torch to see what’s moving around in the pond
  • You might also want to take a look at the plants in your garden to see if any there are any caterpillars on them (many come out to feed in the dark)
  • Take as long as you want, but we recommend an hour or so.
  • Record everything you see on your survey sheet.

Submit your survey results online here 

  • Share photos of what you’re doing on social media using the hashtag #Hampshirewindowwildlife or #Islandwindowwildlife

Make space for nature: see more nightlife

Want to see more species on your Nightlife Survey? Spaces that we have at home, no matter how big or small, can all be transformed to create spaces for animals to feed, shelter, and reproduce. The survival of our wildlife is threatened due to habitat destruction and fragmentation, but we can help create new habitats in our residential areas and bring wildlife back.

Pondlife Survey

Areas of water provide a whole new type of habitat that attracts different animals to your garden. If you have a pond in your garden or local area, explore a little and let us know what creatures you find.

What you'll need:

  • The survey sheet and a pencil
  • OR enter your results straight onto your phone or tablet with the submission form open.
  • ID guides/apps to help you identify what you find (take a look at the bottom of this page for links to our favourites)

What to do:

  • Explore your pond carefully with a torch to see what's moving inside and on the water's edges.
Great Crested Newt

© David Kilbey

Great Crested Newts are the largest of the UK's newt species. Adults are easily identified for their black backs and striking orange bellies. Great Crested Newt populations have declined dramatically in recent years and because of this, they are strictly protected by British law. It is illegal to kill, injure, capture or disturb them; damage or destroy their habitat; and to possess, sell or trade.

So, when you're doing your pondlife survey, please look but don't touch these newts. For more information visit the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust.

  • Take as long as you want, but we recommend an hour or so.
  • Record everything you see on your survey sheet.

Submit your survey results online here 

  • Share photos of what you’re doing on social media using the hashtag #Hampshirewindowwildlife or #Islandwindowwildlife

Make space for nature: see more pondlife

Want to see more species on your Pondlife Survey? Spaces that we have in our home, no matter how big or small, can all be transformed to create spaces for animals to feed, shelter, and reproduce. The survival of our wildlife is threatened due to habitat destruction and fragmentation, but we can help create new habitats in our residential areas and bring wildlife back.

What do our citizen science survey results mean?

Analysing plant and animal diversity: 

Biodiversity is the variety of plant and animal life in a given area. A high level of biodiversity is considered important and desirable for our ecosystems. Once you've collected your data, you're ready to start processing and calculating biodiversity measurements. In previous sections, we have advised you on best ways to create spreadsheets for your data. These spreadsheets will make completing some of these equations quite easy. On our Microsoft Excel spreadsheet template, we have already made space for these equations. 

Biodiversity can be measured in a number of ways and it's easy to get confused. You don't have to be a statistician to get an understanding of biodiversity in the area, but you will need a calculator! Just use these few simple equations. 

You can do this with each individual plant and animal that you find, but you can always group them into categories for comparison such as non-native flowers versus native flowers etc. 

If you’d like, you can submit all of your records to several record centres around. Go to https://www.hiwwt.org.uk/species-records to find out more. 

If you conducted these studies in your wild space every year, you’d be able to compare year on year how the ecology of the area has changed. For now though, you will want to know how this data determines what you could do with your waste of space. In the next section, we will go over some information to help you.  

Population Size

For plants: population size = no. of species in the sample x total area/sample area 

For animals: population size = maximum no. of species seen in any sample 

The wildlife surveys we do to count animals means that we cannot be sure that we do not see the same animal more than once. We can, however, assume that the population size is at least as big as the maximum number of animals that were spotted at one time.  

The bigger the population size, the more you can assume that the species is thriving. Of course, this is all relative. Some bigger plants and animals need larger territories and therefore their population size number will be smaller. 

Population Percentage Cover

For plants only: population percentage cover = Sum of % of species in sample x number of samples taken 

Population percentage cover is almost the same as population size. Depending on how you collected data, you might prefer to use one of these equations over the other. You may have decided to measure plants (such as grass) as percentages of your quadrat instead of counting individual plants. As with population size, the bigger the population percentage cover, the more you can assume that the species is thriving. 

Species Richness

species richness = sum of unique species spotted 

Biodiversity is the variety of animals and plants in a habitat, so no matter how many of one plant or animal you have, you also need to think about a balanced community of individuals that contribute to the circle of life. You might want to list all the unique species you find, even if you only find one as some might be incredibly rare and need protecting. 

ID Guides and Apps to help you

Want to see more wildlife?

If you haven’t seen much or would like to see more there’s plenty of easy things you can do to encourage more wildlife to your garden or outdoors.

Join Team Wilder

In order for nature to recover, we need many more people on nature’s side. The science shows that 25% of people taking action is enough to change the minds and behaviour of the majority. This is and has to be a joint effort. We all have different skills, knowledge, and experience that, when put together, will help make a more resilient and effective action plan.

Together, we are #TeamWilder.

Find out more