How do you engage people to protect and care for their local green spaces and wildlife in the middle of a global pandemic, when people are only allowed to leave their homes for one hour a day?
These were the challenges posed by the COVID-19 lockdown that started in March, and led to The Conservation Volunteers suspending our volunteering sessions for the first time in over 60 years.
However, our team in Scotland rose to the challenge, with some help from the British Ecological Society’s Regional Fund.
The funding was granted to organisations who were seeking new and innovative ways of public engagement from home during this time. TCV Scotland saw an opportunity collaborate with another TCV project funded by the British Ecological Society, HogWatch.
HogWatch aims to understand more about the decline in hedgehog species in Scotland with a focus on receiving new records and footage of hedgehogs. However, as an elusive nocturnal species, a few tools are often needed to capture these sightings, which led to the creation of HogWatch at Home.
HogWatch At Home
With the funding received, HogWatch at Home has set up a lending library which lends cameras to volunteers, starting with groups from the TCV Community Network, to borrow for a period of time to gather information on the wildlife visiting each group.
We hope to reduce barriers to potentially costly equipment and to open up our wildlife lending library to all.Kirsty Crawford, TCV Senior Project Officer – Citizen Science.
Cameras come with a streaming service so participants have the option to share footage with others. There are also cameras set up at some of the TCV Scotland’s shared sites, such as the Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre, so that members of the public can join in with HogWatch at Home if they don’t have access to a green space to set up a camera.
Ready to Join In, Feel Good?
All in Scotland are welcome to borrow from the lending library. There are also mammal footprint tunnels (complete with wildlife-friendly ink and identification guide) and remote monitoring cameras (which work by connecting to WiFi).
For more information on HogWatch at Home, please contact Kirsty Crawford.