A UK-wide project to record how our native plant species are changing over time needs volunteers to collect vital data.
The National Plant Monitoring Scheme (NPMS) is looking for volunteers to adopt a one km square that they can visit twice a year.
Squares can be adopted by individuals or a group. Within each square, volunteers will be asked to visit up to 5 locations (plots) and record, from a list, the abundance of up to 30 plant species that may be found there.
The scheme is supported by Scottish Natural Heritage and will help Plantlife Scotland gain a greater understanding of plant communities in Scotland.
Volunteers don't need to be experts in botany to take part in the survey. The scheme has three different levels of participation. The Wildflower level asks you to record the abundance of up to 15 species – which have been chosen due to the way in which they represent a habitat, for example deciduous woodland or heathland. The more detailed Inventory level asks more experienced botanists to record everything they see in their plots. Training materials and workshops are provided.
NPMS volunteers say: 'I am getting out more than I used to before'; 'I have increased my understanding of my local patch'; and 'I have developed new skills'.
To find out if there is an available square near you, the NPMS website has an interactive map showing the available 'blue' squares.
Information on how to get started and sign up can be found on the NPMS website.