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. This year we are 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. To book on our identification workshops, please visit our events page. Additional activities and field trips will be announced through our monthly newsletter. To receive a copy of this, all you need to do is register with WildWatch.
Community science and arts
UPDATE: We are working with Cap a Pie theatre company to bring their ‘Six Legs’ show to schools in Weardale, uncovering the wonderful world of invertebrates. Schools taking part will also help create a mini beast trail at the Durham Dales Centre. A launch event will take place on Saturday 22nd September to showcase all the work created by the school children and local artists. For more information about the education programme this year, please have a look at the introductory pack. CBS – Weardale Programme Introduction
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.