Nature lovers asked to contribute to online diary to mark start of spring

Wildlife lovers are getting the chance to contribute to the UK’s first crowd-sourced nature diary to mark the beginning of spring, it has been announced.

Researchers from the Land Lines project, which examines the history of nature writing, are asking people across the UK to document their observations of wildlife, favourite places and what spring means to them.

People can upload diary entries of up to 150 words throughout Wednesday for the scheme, led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and backed by the National Trust, Natural England and the Field Studies Council.

Blackthorn flowers are a key sign of spring (National Trust Images/PA)
Blackthorn flowers are a key sign of spring (National Trust Images/PA)

The diary’s organisers said entries could be poems, something about the meaning of spring, or descriptions of things such as an encounter with an urban fox on the way to work or birdsong while walking in the woods.

They can be uploaded with any accompanying images to the AHRC wbsite, and shared on social media, and all entries will be live curated from dawn to dusk on Wednesday, the first official day of spring.

Writer Abi Andrews will select entries from across the UK that best capture the arrival of spring for a specially produced ebook.

Hazel catkins appear as spring begins (John Malley/National Trust Images/PA)
Hazel catkins appear as spring begins (John Malley/National Trust Images/PA)

Dr Pippa Marland, part of the Land Lines research team, based at the University of Leeds, said: “The crowd-sourced spring diary will give nature lovers across the UK the chance to participate in an event that combines the best traditions of citizen science with the opportunity to produce their own nature writing.

“It will offer a unique snapshot of the beginning of spring this year and mark an important moment in the history of nature writing in the UK.”

Prof Roey Sweet, from the AHRC, said people could record and share the signs of the change of season from their daily commute or a rural walk “to bring to life the essence of spring as it sweeps across the country”.

Spring lambs asleep by a tree at Ickworth, Suffolk, (Justin Minns/National Trust Images/PA)
Spring lambs asleep by a tree at Ickworth, Suffolk (Justin Minns/National Trust Images/PA)

The National Trust’s Dr David Bullock said: “This is an amazing time of year as nature starts to wake up with the lengthening of the days and the climbing temperatures.

“Wherever you are in the country, there is lots that you can look out for.

“From the frogs in ponds to the honey bees finding nectar in the last of the snowdrops, the powerful songster – the mistle thrush – pronouncing its presence from the very top of the tallest tree, to hungry badgers excavating lawns searching for grubs and juicy plant roots.”

People can upload their diary entries and any accompanying images to the AHRC website https://ahrc.ukri.org/spring-diary/ and also share them on social media using the hashtag #springnaturediary

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