Posted 13th March by Peter Byrne
Nature lovers in Bristol and Bath have been asked to join a race to discover and record as much wildlife as possible as part of a new international competition
The epic four-day City Nature Challenge runs from 27-30 April, with the two regions competing with 64 cities spread across five different continents, including Plymouth and London.
Residents in Bristol and Bath are being called upon to become nature detectives, showcasing as much of the flora and fauna in the area as they can. There are two prizes up for grabs - one which would be awarded for the greatest number of species found, and the other for the largest number of nature observations that are made.
Savita Willmott, director of the Bristol Natural History Consortium, said: "We know how passionate people in this area are about wildlife and the environment and we want them to help us win this competition and show just how important the natural world is to our lives."
"We think this challenge will help show people just how much wildlife there is in our cities - from our gardens and parks to some of the more hidden urban areas - that we can be proud of and need to protect and nurture. It promises to be enormous fun but there's a serious reason to get involved too as all the nature recorded will help us understand what actions we need to take to conserve the wildlife we find."
There will be several ways for residents and businesses to get involved, including free events, volunteering or learning more on an expert edition. Nature detectives are required to explore 'forgotten areas' of the region under the guidance of a specialist survey team, or to keep their eyes peeled for the 'most wanted' species to help map the nature in the West of England.
There will also be the chance for wildlife enthusiasts to get hands on and join the region's Survey Team, with the team set to be tasked with gathering most of the species data and showcasing Bristol's and Bath's critters. You can find out more here:
It is also hoped that school children in the area will get to take up the challenge, with a special schools pack being released next week to encourage them to participate.
Image courtesy of Steve Wilson