Roll up your sleeves and get stuck in… we’re launching a Land of Oak & Iron Wildlife Group!

Ahead of World Wetlands Day on Friday 2nd February, we’re asking you to get hands-on at a series of free monthly events, designed to help you, your family and friends learn the skills you need to identify and record the wildlife of the area.

As you know, the Land of Oak & Iron covers a 177 kmarea surrounding the Derwent Valley including Consett, Rowlands Gill, Prudhoe and Whickham.  It’s an area rich in woodland and natural habitats to explore, with a wealth of wildlife to discover and enjoy.  To help record the creatures calling this area their home, we’ve worked with Durham Wildlife Trust to set up the Land of Oak & Iron Wildlife Group and we’re so pleased to be able to tell you all about it.

The great news is you don’t need to be a professional to take part (they’re free of charge to attend too – hurrah!). The Land of Oak & Iron Wildlife Group is open to everyone who has an interest in the natural environment, so it’s great for families with young children looking for something fun and engaging to do, right through to retired people with a little time on their hands.

The first meeting will take place in March, where you’ll learn how to spot otters and develop your surveying skills of these terrestrial mammals.  Did you know they spend much of their time in the water, with their holts often in riverbanks usually screened by reeds, tree roots and other vegetation?  It fascinating facts like this you’ll learn during the sessions and much, much more.  Subsequent monthly sessions within the programme over the course of the year will cover bat, bumblebee and dragonfly identification, as well as wildlife bioblizt. How interesting!

If you’d like to take part or would like a little more information, simply get in touch with Kirsty Pollard at Durham Wildlife Trust by email or by calling 0191 584 3112 today.

What’s more, to coincide with the launch of our Land of Oak & Iron Wildlife Group, we’ve also launched an online portal on our website, where you can record your sightings by completing a simple form to take part in an on-going Wildlife Survey.  These surveys are hugely important because, with your help, it allows us to learn more about and understand the animals and insects we’re sharing this area with.

By taking part in the Wildlife Survey – whether you’re going to one of the sessions with the Land of Oak & Iron Wildlife Group to develop your skills or happen to spot something of interest while taking a walk in the area – in recording what you see, you’re helping us to build an accurate picture of our natural environment. In turn, it means we can work hard to protect these creatures and their habitats long into the future for the next generate to explore and enjoy.

So, what are you waiting for? Any nature enthusiast – whether a budding pro or a seasoned professional – can join the Land of Oak & Iron Wildlife Group or log on to the website and record their sightings in the Wildlife Survey. Learn, experience, see and do amazing new things in this beautiful area of the North East, full to the brim with woodlands, wetlands and natural habitats. Don’t forget to let us know what you discover along the way.