Wildlife Surveying Project Scoops Marsh Award

Living Magazines Marsh Award

Volunteers from Chilterns-based, Tracking the Impact – a project that helps local people improve their knowledge of local birds, plants and butterflies – were delighted to receive the prestigious Marsh Award for Local Ornithology. Organised by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), the awards celebrated the outstanding work of conservation scientists and volunteers in an annual awards ceremony held recently at the Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) Natural Eye exhibition at London’s Mall Galleries.

The ‘Tracking the Impact’ project provides training on bird, butterfly and plant identification – as well as survey methodology to volunteers developing their knowledge and enthusiasm to improve scientific understanding of the area. To date, over 125 volunteers have been carrying out regular surveys across the Chilterns gathering data that helps track the population trends of local birds, butterflies and plants on a landscape scale.

Tracking the Impact Project organiser, Nick Marriner from the Chilterns Conservation Board said: ‘We are honoured to be nominated for, and to win this award, which reflects the collective energy, enthusiasm and passion of our volunteer team supporting wildlife in the Chilterns. They should all be very proud, and I would like to extend my thanks for all their support in getting the project off of the ground. We hope the project will act as a template for other local landscape scale projects and helping to better understand local wildlife trends, complement and add value to national data sets, support a new generation of wildlife recorders and connect more people to their local landscape. On behalf of our team of volunteers I am immensely proud to receive the award on their behalf and join the long list of exciting previous winners. Thanks again to BTO for nominating us.’

The Chilterns Conservation Board led the project design, secured the funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and led the delivery in partnership with BBOWT, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Environmental Records Centre, Butterfly Conservation, Plantlife and the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

The project is encouraging more people to get involved and there is a wide range of opportunities available, regardless of your levels of experience or the time you have available. You might be an experienced bird watcher or simply a nature or wildlife enthusiast who wants to learn more about Chilterns wildlife and plant life. Volunteers can benefit from free species ID training from local experts, and support with survey methods and data entry. To find out more about the project and how to get involved, visit www.chilternsaonb.org/tracking-the-impact.