School children spot ladybirds this summer
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 15:07
Breathing PlacesWith their brightly coloured bodies, ladybirds are easy to spot and school children will be helping discover just how many there are in school grounds this summer.

Thousands of children across the UK will be taking part in the biggest survey of ladybirds in schools, as part of the BBC Breathing Places Schools project.

With over 10,000 Breathing Places Schools registered in all corners of the UK, it is hoped the results will identify regional variations and contribute valuable data to the UK Ladybird Survey, run by volunteers at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Ladybirds are widely recognised and loved by children of all ages. Finding and recording what species of ladybirds their school environment attracts, will give young people the opportunity to discover and contribute to our understanding of ladybirds.

BBC Breathing Places Schools has decided to offer this new ‘Do One Thing’ activity as part of its summer of action in the International Year of Biodiversity. The ladybird survey will run from 24 May to 11 June 2010.  

BBC Breathing Places Schools joined forces with the RSPB two years ago and worked with 40 other conservation and education organisations across the UK to deliver a ‘Do One Thing activity each term. Their expertise and enthusiasm has provided the opportunity for thousands of children to get close to nature over that time.  [note 4]  

Since its launch in 2008, more than 10,000 schools have registered for the project and transformed their school grounds into havens for wildlife. Previous ‘Do One Thing’ activities have included planting seeds, nurturing minibeasts, feeding wildlife, making homes for wildlife, digging ponds and planting trees.

There’s still time to get involved with the project. To take part in the ladybird survey all schools have to do is register at www.bbc.co.uk/breathingplaces/schools Registered schools will receive teaching notes and activity sheets will be available on the website in May.

Brian Reid, RSPB Breathing Places Project Manager, said: “The thought of ten thousand schools working together to deliver valuable research data is very exciting.

“Ladybirds are fairly easy to spot and we want to know how many different species of ladybirds are found in UK school grounds. Will a school be the first to record a harlequin ladybird in their area?”

Karen Gregory, BBC Breathing Places Campaign Project Executive said: “This will be a fantastic opportunity for school children to learn more about biodiversity through studying an iconic insect which is immediately familiar to everyone. We’re very excited about the prospect of this survey making a real contribution to providing a lasting legacy to our understanding of the importance of maintaining the variety of life on earth.”