Monday, 9 January 2017

Buds, Berries and Leaves survey: A volunteer view

Guest post by Community Science volunteer Jeff Kessler: 

So, here I am slowly walking up a steep hillside. I’m a bit short of breath & the wind’s cold and has a bit of a bite to it but do I care? No, because the sunshine is glorious & the views are just stunning. 

The other side of Luddenden Dean is a patchwork of fields & woodland; steeper lower down then a shallower slope higher up as it becomes the shelf. Above that is the moor, bleaker but still beautiful & full of life, albeit not quite as showy as some other habitats.

Volunteers undertaking a Buds, Berries and Leaves survey...

I’m on my way from Jerusalem Farm car park to the beginning of the Midgley Moor transect to do the Buds, Berries and Leaves Survey. It’s an easy task, I just have check & record whether the specific plants being surveyed have buds, berries or leaves on them. 

I’ll then pass on the data to Moors for the Future, who’ll use it to learn about changes in the timing of events in the plants’ life cycles; important information to track the effects of climate change. I don’t need to be a botanist, or even know that much about plants to do this, I got the training I need in a day & I know I can contact the Moors for the Future Community Science team if I need any advice.

So, what do I get from doing this survey work for Moors for the Future? I’ve learnt more about certain plants & the moorland habitat, & have now started to work on my general plant id skills & understanding of ecology; I get the satisfaction of contributing to scientific investigation of the natural environment & how to protect it; I get lots of fresh air & exercise; if I’m lucky I’ll see a kestrel or other bird of prey!

All round, well worth doing!