The overall aim of this project, delivered by Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service, was to increase the number of trained volunteers participating in wildlife recording in the Brecks. The project exceeded all of it’s original targets by an astounding amount, in no small part due to the 785 people who gave up their time. It was originally hoped that the project would engage around 60 volunteers but a total of 785 people gave 7,210 hours of their time to learn about, improve identification skills, and record biodiversity in the Brecks.
41 participation and training events were run, open to all ages and levels of experience, with the majority of them including elements of training from expert professionals. After a session of learning to identify key species, volunteers then spent the rest of the day or weekend recording, with most going away and undertaking recording of their own. Volunteers learned how to submit records themselves online, which are then verified by the NBIS team. 23 sites (13 more than planned) across the Brecks were fully monitored for their wildlife, and some via BioBlitz events. At a BioBlitz, the public are invited to a mass recording event with experts on hand to help identify as many species as possible over the course of a weekend. These activities combined, contributed towards a total of 32,210 new records being added to the Brecks’ biodiversity database, when the original target was only 6,000! (www.nbis.org.uk/WildlifeRecordersOnline)
An incredible 294 sites had recordings made at them over the course of the project, several of which were monitored for their rare wild flowers. As part of the project, the Breckland Flora Group has been re-established after several years of hiatus and will continue to monitor floral species into the future. A non-native species survey of the River Little Ouse was also conducted as part of the project, staggered over two years, and the team were very pleased to report that no non-native species were discovered in the areas monitored, highlighting the importance of the area for native freshwater habitats.