When I’m not gardening or trying to encourage others to garden I’m usually involved in cajoling members of the local natural history society (Curracag), friends, islanders, tourists or anyone who’ll listen to get out and about and discover the natural wonders of our beautiful islands. Once enchanted and ensnared they lured into the delights of recording what they see helping us to document our wildlife so that it can be preserved for future generations (Outer Hebrides Biological Recording Project). After all if you don’t know what you’ve got you don’t know what you’re about to lose.
Almost everyone can be persuaded to take a walk along the beach and indulge in a little beach combing, it has to be the ideal family outing. So what could be better than a seaweed hunt? The Natural History Museum has been running a seaweed recording project since 2009 to map the distribution of 12 key kinds of seaweed that can be found around the UK coast and to track how their distributions are changing. Climate change has an effect on water conditions and sea levels, which may affect seaweeds as well as many other organisms.
This is an ideal project for encouraging everyone to have a closer look at the life on our seashores. The survey is easy to carry out and there is an information sheet and photographs which you can download from their website to help you identify the seaweeds included in the survey (Natural History Museum Big Seaweed Search).
We all had a fantastic time and found rather more than we had expected, not just seaweeds – sponges, shore crabs, a mermaid’s purse, winkles and whelks. Some of us also became enthused and have spent countless hours dabbling around in rock pools and discovering a whole new hidden world.
So why not take a trip to the seaside and have a go – you can even do it in the rain!