Farmland Wildlife Surveyor

Location: Upper Beult Farmer Cluster, Pluckley, Egerton, Great Chart, Bethersden, Shadowhurst, High Halden, Biddenden, Smarden

Farmland in spring, Fishponds, Dorset, England, UK - Guy Edwardes/2020VISION

Take part in this survey to help us understand how our farmland wildlife is coping across a large landscape and importantly work towards a Wilder Kent.

Position details

Duration

-

Commitment

Any Day

Frequency

Weekly

Contact details

For enquiries about how to volunteer email Volunteering

If you have any other enquiries about how you can get involved with the farmland surveys or would like information about the other Nature's Sure Connected opportunities contact Alana Skilbeck via email alana.skilbeck@kentwildlife.org.uk 

Why is this important?

There is increasing recognition that collaborative working in a geographic area can achieve more than working in isolation, i.e. the sum of the group is greater than its parts. This approach has led to the formation of Farmer Clusters. By working together, helped by a Conservation Advisor, farmers and land managers can work more cohesively together in their locality, enabling them to collectively deliver greater benefits for soil, water and wildlife at a landscape scale.

With the growth of the farmer cluster approach, the Nature’s Sure Connected saw an opportunity to develop an approach to landscape-scale monitoring in this context. We are currently working with Kent Wildlife Trusts Farmer Cluster Officers and the Upper Beult Farming Cluster to develop a survey led by farmers, landowners and volunteers. We are working in collaboration with farmers to develop a survey approach that works for them, and answers one of the key landscape-scale questions you helped us to prioritise.

Establishing the numbers of individuals of a species in a population is typically very resource and labour intensive, meaning it is frequently unachievable in landscape-scale projects. Our approach uses the principle that species distribution can act as an alternative for abundance. When populations grow or contract, the area they occupy also grows or contracts. By measuring the area occupied by a population, we can detect changes in its size, without needing to count every individual.

To try and determine species distribution at a landscape scale, we are asking volunteers to conduct farmland wildlife surveys on various sites in the Upper Beult Farmer Cluster. Take part in this survey to help us understand how our farmland wildlife is coping across a large landscape and importantly work towards a Wilder Kent.

How can I help?

We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to walk a set route across a local farm, which is part of the Upper Beult Farmer Cluster, on a weekly basis. Each survey will take 1-2 hours and will vary per the size of the farm and can be done at your own leisure during suitable weather periods. We would like you to complete between 1 and 4 surveys per month through the survey season (April-August). Each volunteer will be assigned to one farm that they will continue to survey for the entire survey season.

You will monitor and record the different species of farmland wildlife observed while walking a set route. Species you will be looking for will include birds, butterflies, mammals and plants that are indicative of the farmland landscape. We are asking volunteers to record presence of species such as turtle dove, yellowhammer, gatekeeper, large red damselfly, green-winged orchid and water vole.

The data collected will be used to determine species distribution at a landscape scale as well as contributing to various conservation schemes that are assessing how species groups are faring across the whole of the UK.

Location

Upper Beult Farmer Cluster –
Pluckley, Egerton, Great Chart, Bethersden, Shadowhurst, High Halden, Biddenden, Smarden.
Due to location own transport is essential.
Each volunteer will be assigned to one farm that they will continue to survey for the entire survey season. Access will be coordinated with the farmer/landowner of your assigned farm and will vary depending on harvest/other activities taking place.

Upper Beult farmer area
turtle dove

Trutle Dove (c) Dawn Monrose

Training

Training is provided to learn how to conduct the survey as well as identification skills for the indicator species.

The training on the 2nd April is now cancelled due to CORVID-19.  We are currently looking into ways of producing an online training session and resources.

If you would like to participate in the training please send an email to alana.skilbeck@kentwildlife.org.uk