Eighteen months ago, the Meet the Species team set out on an epic quest: to bring scientists, naturalists, schools groups and members of the public together in the search for 2,012 species of wildlife for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
At nearly 150 thrilling events, thousands of participants joined the race up and down the country, meeting around 4,000 species along the way (some number crunching still going on). So far 1,727 of these are on our 2,012 list with 285 still to find.
We think there are three main reasons for not finding some of these elusive species
- Seasonality – most of our events took place over the summer months so we are missing a few autumn moths, fungi and winter birds that migrate for the summer
- Expertise – some of our species are very difficult to identify and rely on the right expert, to be in the right place, at the right time to get a positive record – we don’t record if we’re not sure!
- Rarity – Some of our species are either very uncommon – like the Goose Barnacle, or very local in their distribution – like the Red Squirrel, so if we don’t have an event in the right place we can easily miss them.
We’ve had an amazing time engaging with people and nature in this epic survey and thousands have got closer to nature and learned about the importance and the fun of taking part in wildlife surveys. Hopefully we will hit our target of ticking off every species on the list by the end of the Paralympic Games but even if we don’t, with your help we have made a significant contribution to conservation research by generating over 11,000 biological records and counting!
This data will be used by scientists and conservationists to monitor the state of the UK’s wildlife, influencing the decisions made by land managers and politicians in the future.
A massive thank you goes out to all of the naturalists, scientists, organisations, schools and individuals who have volunteered their time, skills and efforts to help with Meet the Species and of course to all those who contributed to our Final Lap Blog! We hope you had fun…we know we did!
So whether you’ve iSpotted your wildlife sightings, joined a Meet the Species accredited event, met the team at one of our feature events or joined in the Final Lap blog, thank you so much for joining the race. Of course you can continue to take part in any of the amazing surveys run by organisations all over the country.
The important thing now is to keep up the good work!
Best wishes and enjoy meeting more species,
The Meet the Species Team
Meet the Species is a project of the Bristol Natural History Consortium and part of Discovering Places, the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad campaign to inspire the UK to discover their local environment. To find out about BNHC’s other projects, check out our website.