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Conference to connect citizen scientists across Scotland

Volunteer-led citizen science will be in the spotlight this February.  Citizen scientists are volunteers who keep and share records of some or all of the wildlife species that they see, to help inform conservation and environmental research.  The Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI) is partnering Buglife Scotland, Stirling Council and The Wildlife Information Centre to organise a conference called From Source to Resource: Making Biological Records Count, at Alloa Academy on Saturday 10 February. The event will look at the journey that wildlife records make between the recorder and species recording schemes, then onward to inform work to restore, conserve and save species and landscapes, and is aimed at recorders, verifiers and anyone interested in or working in the fields of biological recording, citizen science and environmental conservation in Scotland.

 Image: Paul Barclay/Inner Forth Landscape Initiative

This free conference will celebrate volunteer participation in monitoring the UK’s nature, help members of the biological recording community across Scotland to make connections, and provide updates from practitioners and projects in the area. There will be something for anyone involved in this field or who is interested in Scotland’s natural heritage. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ (RSPB) Dr Mark Eaton will give a keynote talk on the recent State of Nature report, and the use of volunteer-generated data.  As well as the talks there will be morning and afternoon parallel break-out sessions ensuring that everyone, whether you are fascinated by birds or mammals, aquatic life or lichens, can feed their interests and develop new knowledge.

Within the programme, attendees will have time to browse a dedicated display area where you will be able to network, learn more about a wide range of wildlife recording schemes in Scotland, and find out how to get involved in a variety of ways.

The organisers are particularly keen to encourage volunteers and other people involved in biological recording and citizen science to attend, whether you contribute regular or ad-hoc wildlife records, act as a verifier or Vice County Recorder, or undertake fieldwork to further knowledge of sites. The day is also ideal for students and people who are new to wildlife recording and looking to develop their confidence, knowledge and skills. Tickets are free of charge for all attendees but advance booking is essential. 

Commenting on the conference, IFLI’s Community Engagement Officer, Kate Fuller said: ‘This conference, in the central belt of Scotland between the River Forth and the Ochil Hills, is an exciting way to share and celebrate the diversity of species that are found within Scotland, and to recognise the valuable work by volunteers and other practitioners who monitor and record the state of the natural world around us. The day will look at how records move between the recorder, verifier and are then available and used by organisations and practitioners who research or seek to restore and conserve species and landscapes. We invite you to join us for an enjoyable and eye-opening day.’

To find out more about the conference you can visit the IFLI website at http://www.innerforthlandscape.co.uk/eventscal/2014-11-04-09-43-23/16-recording-celebrating/740-from-source-to-resource or book your free place via the Eventbrite page at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/source-to-resource-making-biological-records-count-registration-41236199583 Details of the morning and afternoon parallel break-out sessions will be available in early January.