We’ve been loving getting involved with the NPUK Look Wild project in the Peak District National Park, and learning how to use iNaturalist. But even better than going out and identifying stuff ourselves is introducing the project to other people. Over the last two years we’ve been running some free guided walks where we’ve done just that and the reaction from participants has been fantastic. Let’s find out a bit more about what everyone discovered and enjoyed.
The plan for the walks was to adventure around Tittesworth Water and see what we could find, yet without fail we never got past the first wildflower meadow. It’s amazing what can be found hiding in the grass when you stop and have a look! Participants were amazed to find grasshoppers and crickets, as well as some lovely delicate flowers that you’d miss if walking past. All of this was less than 50m from the visitor centre and car park. Check out this photo of an amazing Common Green Grasshopper that was so well camouflaged we nearly missed it.
Using the app also lead us to some interesting discoveries. When identifying creatures and plants iNaturalist also provides you with a bit of background info, including things like common names, when and where to see them, etc. I love being able to find out a bit more and often it is these quirkier names that I remember rather than the official ones. It didn’t take long for us to utilise this feature on the walks. Like David Attenborough lurking in the bushes, we caught a lot of Common Red Soldier Beetles in some compromising situations and then learnt that they’re commonly called the Hogweed Bonking Beetle – that explains it! And these beetles happened to be at their most active during July, when we were on site.
The best thing about the guided walks was getting people engaged and having a go – Look Wild is just a great way to learn more about nature and making walks a bit more fun. We had a broad range of people involved, from young to old, and from lots of different backgrounds. Even those who were sceptical at first were so keen by the end, and being involved with the walk made a real positive impact on individual’s connection to nature. One of the biggest converts from the day was an older woman with her tablet, who had a great time taking photos and finding out all this new and wonderful information about the wildlife around us.
What I like most about the Look Wild project is that it encourages you to stop, pause, and really have a look. The world is so busy that we so often walk past all this amazing nature without knowing anything about it; it’s great to have an excuse to go slow, take things in, and discover something new.
If you’ve been inspired to get out into nature, you can share any photos or observations with us and get featured on our social or newsletter! Send your observations to email@example.com.
Join i-Naturalist and start identifying nature near you today! Look Wild is a brilliant citizen science project that helps contribute to our data and knowledge of wildlife and habitat health across the UK.
This Blog was written by Jessica Coatesworth, Engagement Ranger Team Leader at Peak District National Park.