Here's how to sign up to take part in this year's Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Creature Count

The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Great Yorkshire Creature Count is back for its third year and sign-up is open now for you to get involved in our region’s very own doorstep safari.

From noon  Saturday  June 18 until noon Sunday June 19, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is asking Yorkshire folk to spot, count and record the creatures in their outdoor spaces
From noon Saturday June 18 until noon Sunday June 19, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is asking Yorkshire folk to spot, count and record the creatures in their outdoor spaces

It’s fun and easy to do, and everyone can take part. From midday Saturday June 18 until midday Sunday June 19, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is asking Yorkshire folk to spot, count and record the creatures in their outdoor spaces – starting with its checklist of 30 creatures great and small.

Rachael Bice, chief executive at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: “Every single garden, yard, window box and scrubby patch of grass harbours wildlife – you’ll be surprised by what you see when you start looking.

Last year, more than 4,200 people headed outside to stealthily spot, count and record wildlife, and reported nearly 15,000 Yorkshire creatures.”

Blackbird, woodpigeon and house sparrow were the top three most-recorded species on last year’s Creature Count, with robin, starling, blue tit and dunnock joining them in the top 10.

Garden snail, buff-tailed bumblebee and honey bee represented the invertebrates among the most-recorded creatures.

Taking part in the Great Yorkshire Creature Count is good for nature and spending time in nature is great for mental health and wellbeing.

Dr Amir Khan Vice President of The Wildlife Trusts and Bradford GP said: “Our outdoor spaces are a lifeline for wildlife and also vital for improving our own health and wellbeing.

“By noticing and recording the wildlife where you live you will be helping nature and our vision of creating a wilder Yorkshire.”

There are more gardens than nature reserves in the UK and they provide crucial corridors, nesting areas and places to shelter for many of our much-loved creatures. But nature needs us.

With their habitats destroyed and the pressures of the climate emergency increasing, even our once-widespread creatures such as the common frog or the garden bumblebee are declining.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has a vision of a wilder Yorkshire where our towns, cities and countryside are connected and rich in wildlife.

It is challenging its supporters to find out more about how many different creatures are making themselves at home, how to protect them, and how wildlife-friendly our gardens are.

Helen Pedley has been interested in nature – particularly birds and flowers – since she was a child AND the Great Yorkshire Creature Count gave her the opportunity to sit, watch and immerse herself in her garden wildlife.

She said: “I found it really easy to take part – the spotter sheet is a great help for the most common things you’ll see.

“It’s so easy then to load up your records on the website. If it’s not on the sheet, most people can record a photo just with a phone, and the amount of information I got from the iNaturalist app was immense.

“Even if you’re looking at a flower bed for 15 minutes in your lunch break, it still gives you that little mental pick me up if you see something beautiful in a flower or a butterfly, but if you’ve got more time you can develop your knowledge.

“There is an ebb and a flow about wildlife. There were busy times and quiet times, and I could see how reactive nature is to things in the weather that we don’t even notice.”

For Linda Clarke, taking part in the Great Yorkshire Creature Count was a way of learning more about the wildlife on her doorstep.

She said: “I’m a birdwatcher, but the count sparked an interest in what else was around me and made me more aware.

“I was interested in the variety of bees that we were asked to look out for and started to notice all the different kinds of bees in the garden. This year, to follow up that interest, I’m doing a four-week Field Studies Council introductory course on bees.”

The Great Yorkshire Creature Count takes place during 30 Days Wild – the inspiration for 30 species!

Every year The Wildlife Trusts invite people to do one wild act every single day during the month of June, with the aim of bringing people closer to nature.

Last year a record 760,000 took part in 30 Days Wild, including 50,000 people across Yorkshire.

UK supporters completed more than 16 million acts of wildness; the most popular activities were wildlife-watching, eating outdoors, planting wildflower seeds and listening to birdsong.

It’s really easy to join the Great Yorkshire Creature Count. Just follow these three steps:

Go to ywt.org.uk/great-yorkshire-creature-count to sign up and get your downloadable checklist, tips and advice.

On the weekend of the count, head outside to search for and record creatures on the checklist.

Submit your sightings on our website at ywt.org.uk/submit-gycc-sightingsFor wildlife lovers who want to go a step further there’s a project group on the iNaturalist app: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/2022-yorkshire-wildlife-trust-great-yorkshire-creature-count