In his latest update Snakes in the Heather Public Engagement and Education Officer, Owain Masters shares the teams exciting plans for the final year of the project and how you can get involved

We are now into the last year of the Snakes in the Heather (SitH) project. A huge thank you to everyone who has taken part so far – joining our events and activities and volunteering your time through Citizen Science surveys and habitat management volunteer days. We also thank our partner organisations and landowners for their continued support and allowing reptile surveys to be undertaken on their heathland reserves across southern England.

Last year was the first year of the project that was not seriously disrupted by the pandemic. We were able to deliver ‘in person’ reptile survey and ID training, get more new volunteer surveyors out into heathland and host a larger number of educational events than in previous years. Among the year’s highlights were the volunteer celebration events that we organised in the New Forest and in Dorset. It was really great to hear volunteers share their experiences about surveying, talk about the differences between seemingly similar heathland nature reserves and enthuse about their favourite wildlife encounters.

So what’s happening this year and how can you take part?...

Habitat management tasks!

Help us to keep our heathlands in great condition for reptiles and join a habitat enhancement task – these volunteer events take place in Dorset, New Forest, East Hampshire, and Surrey. These events are a great way to get out and about, meet new people and help your local wildlife.

Education and community outreach!

Our events take place throughout the year – they include guided walks, talks and activity days for all ages.

To find out more about both Habit Management Tasks and Events keep an eye on the ARC Events Page

Events volunteers wanted!

We are looking for volunteers to help at our events this year – such as running our stall at community fairs and assisting at our educational activities. If this interests you, find out how to can join our team here: Education and events volunteering

Reptile surveys!

If you are a newly trained or seasoned SitH Reptile Surveyor, we will be in touch soon about your 2023 surveys – so you can begin looking for reptiles as soon as they emerge from hibernation. There will be plenty of opportunities to develop your interest and skills including access to mentoring, the chance to join ‘Group Reptile Surveys’ and use of our survey resources.

Reptile survey training!

Our next online SitH Reptile Survey Training Event will take place on Saturday 25th February 2023 – click here to find out more and book your place. If you would like to receive an invitation to our upcoming classroom training events, or have any questions about the SitH reptile survey programme, please contact Ben Limburn, SitH Citizen Science & Operations Officer: Email: [email protected]

Also, check out the National Amphibian and Reptile Monitoring Programme to find out about ARC’s other surveys and projects and how you can get involved.

We are really looking forward to the year ahead and hope to see you at one of our events soon. 

Snakes in the Heather is supported by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.