Volunteers and members of local community action groups have a vital role to play in the conservation of their local biodiversity. Learning about biodiversity close to home helps to give a sense of place and belonging, and so can be an important part of community development. Community projects are excellent mechanisms for reducing the level of social problems and, as learning about local biodiversity only occurs when it becomes readily accessible to people, communities play a key role in making areas inviting, safe, and accessible to everyone.

Collecting, analysing and processing accurate information about species and habitats is an essential prerequisite of all biodiversity conservation and whilst professional organisations have an important role to play, the valuable role of volunteers should not be overlooked. Voluntary recorders spend significant amounts of their own time gathering biodiversity information that could not realistically be collected by any other means. Volunteers also provide invaluable support in a range of other ways including participating in surveys and assisting with, and often instigating and learning practical conservation work such as habitat management.

Volunteers form a key part of how we deliver on a whole range of biodiversity objectives. The Biodiversity Partnership are actively working to develop opportunities and ways of working where we can incorporate volunteer effort more easily into our mainstream work (see Biodiversity Assets section). The Biodiversity Partnership aims to collect data on volunteer effort to conserve and enhance biodiversity at all level are being recorded.

More Information on Volunteer Groups can be found here.

More information on a huge range of national and local citizen science activities, how to get involved in surveys as an individual or a group, and activities for groups can be found here.

If you take part in surveys, especially if you organise your own, please consider submitting your records to one of the following data sharing sites: