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National Plant Monitoring Scheme training days in Scotland by Jill Williams

We're back in the office after our 2017 series of training days in Scotland for the National Plant Monitoring Scheme (NPMS), held in Dumfriesshire, Perthshire and the Cairngorms.

Here is a flavour of what was involved at the training days this year...

The morning session at each training day includes the background to the NPMS survey and what is involved in taking part. In small groups we look at example survey maps, to see how to find out what habitats are present, and how to choose where to locate small plots in which to record the NPMS wild flowers.

Come count with me by NPMS volunteer Katie Cameron

It's a mild day in May as we approach our designated square - a lovely location on the edge of the New Forest where woodland edges on to open fields. The survey is habitat based and our map suggests we have two key habitats to look out for – broadleaved woodland and lowland grassland. So far so good. The guidance notes and advice on the website suggest that recommend a visit to your site beforehand, but we have a fair idea of our site, passing it regularly to and from work.

Tackling the NPMS in the field: a lowland example

By now many of you will no doubt have made at least one visit to your NPMS square – we hope you have enjoyed the challenge! Don’t forget that the first visit is the hardest one, because choosing the plots is a key initial step in the National Plant Monitoring Scheme. Subsequent visits to a square will focus on monitoring your established plots, and also hopefully on continually improving your plant ID skills!

NPMS training kicks off!

Training

Yes, the swallows are back, the meadows are being painted with lady-smock, and the first ever round of NPMS training is taking place! If you haven't already noticed, the National Plant Monitoring Scheme is offering a full schedule of training opportunities this year. Visit the training page to sign-up if you are an NPMS surveyor!

The NPMS launch

The new National Plant Monitoring Scheme (NPMS), launching today, will for the first time enable scientists to take an annual stock take of the UK’s wild plants and their habitats, but to do this we need the public’s help. We are looking for volunteers to carry out surveys of wildflowers and their habitats that will provide robust evidence of which widespread plants are increasing or declining, as well as indicating the changing state of our most valued habitats such as grassland, fenland and even road verges.
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