Citizen science

What we do

Citizen science

© Surrye Wildlife Trust

Conservation for everyone

By taking part in our citizen science surveys you are helping us to understand the condition of our priority habitats, their connectivity and the wildlife that lives in them. As a citizen scientist you are our eyes and ears on the ground.

Otter in river

© Luke Massey

What is citizen science?

Citizen science is a flexible concept which can be adapted and applied within diverse situations and disciplines. At Surrey Wildlife Trust we have always relied on volunteers to help deliver our missions, including practical land management, fundraising, and with data gathering and analysis. With our partner, the Surrey Biodiversity Information Centre, we have helped foster and coordinate Surrey’s extensive community of skilled species recorders and recording groups. The survey and monitoring data provided by these groups make the planning of conservation at the local and regional scale possible.

How we use your data

Citizen science has been identified as a major part of Surrey Wildlife Trust’s new 5 Year Strategic Plan 2018 - 23. Over the next 5 years, and in line with our Research and Monitoring plan, our data needs are going to be expanding. It is vital that we make informed decisions based on knowledge and evidence, and take a rigorous approach to monitoring and evaluating our conservation efforts.

We will be using the data you collect:

  • To understand the pressures on biodiversity, critical trends and how people appreciate and benefit from the natural environment.
  • To discover better ways to manage the environment to improve biodiversity and foster public understanding and wellbeing
  • To better understand and demonstrate how we can all make a positive impact through monitoring and evaluation

Species recording

Recording the natural world around you helps contribute to our knowledge of the natural environment. We want to encourage people to get out and about to record what you see around you. You do not need to be an expert in identification, even the submission of common species’ records is an important contribution. For many species, including common species, we simply don’t know what is happening to their populations, so recording their whereabouts is just as important as the more rare species.

The vital components of a biological record are WHO, WHAT, WHEN and WHERE:

WHO: Who found and identified the species?

WHAT: What is the name of the species? Give a common and scientific name if you can. iSpot is a brilliant website aimed at helping anyone identify anything in nature so is a great place to start.

WHEN: The date it was seen.

WHERE: The location of the record, ideally as a six figure grid reference. Grid references can be found on a variety of websites but in the field you can mark the location on a map or use a GPS or mobile phone app. If you find the same species in a different location, that is a separate record so you can have multiple records for each species on your list. This is more useful than only recording each species once.

Get involved

We currently have two surveys we would like you to undertake:

Hedgerow Heroes

Help us carry out surveys that are vital for many wildlife species to thrive.

More about Hedgerow Heroes


A healthy river system is one with a rich diversity of species and habitats all co-existing in clean water. Help us monitor your local stretch of water. 

More about RiverSearch

If you would like to get involved please email We will get you set up with an account on the ‘Cartographer’ website which is where you will submit your data.

Other citizen science surveys

Many organisations share common goals with Surrey Wildlife Trust and have brilliant surveys you can get involved with. From swifts to sawflies, there will be something that will take your fancy!

Find out more