Celebrating and recording invertebrates in the North Pennines.
Cold-blooded and Spineless is an ambitious and exciting North Pennines AONB Partnership project which aims to record and celebrate invertebrates in the area.
This is a five-year Heritage Lottery Funded initiative, which runs until 2019.
There are 30,000 different species of invertebrate in the UK. According to the State of Nature report, 66% of invertebrates studied in the uplands have declined in the last 50 years. Yet for many species there is insufficient data to predict population health. Invertebrates are underappreciated for their contribution to the function of our ecosystems, from soil nutrient cycling and pest control through to pollination. Many invertebrates are a vital food source for all kinds of birds, fish and mammals.
Without data, we are unable to make fully informed conservation decisions on these small but valuable animals who live in our upland habitats. We need people of all ages and abilities to join in and discover the wonderful North Pennines invertebrate kingdom.
Training for volunteers
To help broaden our knowledge in the North Pennines, we want to develop people’s expertise in some important and accessible groups of invertebrates. During 2017, our third year, we will be offering further training for beginners plus intermediate level training for those ready to progress to the next stage. There will be a number of training workshops which will be paired with field trips and surveys to help people improve their practical skills. We are currently developing the training programme and details will be announced through our monthly newsletter. To receive a copy of this, all you need to do is register with WildWatch.
More advanced training will be offered in years three to five. There will be a wider range of public events to encourage people to gather data at key sites throughout the North Pennines.
Community science and arts
Working with schools located in and around the North Pennines, we will run curriculum-linked activities in arts and science. These activities will highlight the value of inverterbrates and showcase key species’ life histories to emphasise their relationship with underlying geology and upland habitats. Each year an art installation will be created to help communities share this learning with local people and visitors.
In 2015 we worked with pupils from Teesdale Comprehensive and artist Peter Graham, the programme culminated in the installation of four beautiful stone sculptures within the drystone walls alongside the River Tees at Low Force. The sculptures depict the adult and juvenile stages of the mayfly and stonefly, both important and characteristic invertebrates of upland rivers like the Tees. Why not take a walk along the Pennine Way upstream of Low Force to see if you can find them? There are also slate slabs in place at Bowlees Vistor Centre, from where you can start your adventure.
Cold-blooded and Spineless bug trolley for loan! Calling all schools, community groups and little naturalists, we are offering a free two week loan of our bug trolley which is kitted out with everything you need to hunt, discover and record the little creatures lurking in the undergrowth, in ponds and under stones. It’s handy for taking out to any location and includes resources to run fun, educational activities for groups. For more information and to book email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All findings can be submitted on the WildWatch recording pages.
If you would like to get involved with the project, please email email@example.com.