Be part of our science - share your wildlife observations at our BBC Gardeners' World stand!

Update 14 Jun 2013: Latest blog post from the show

For the third year in a row, the Biological Records Centre team from CEH are at the BBC Gardeners’ World Live show in Birmingham, and we’re inviting you to visit our stand to learn more about biological recording!

Don’t worry if you are a biological records novice - we’ll take you through the process step-by-step, showing you that it can be relatively easy to identify common insects and tell you why it’s so important for our scientists to receive your records, even those that are from your own garden.The Small tortoiseshell butterfly is one of five common insects you  can learn about and record at our stand.

But what is a record?

Ladybird expert Dr Helen Roy, an ecological entomologist with CEH and coordinator of the UK Ladybird Survey, will be at Gardeners’ World Live all week so don’t miss the chance to speak to her and colleagues about the records you can make of the insects in your garden, and how scientists can use such information to carry out research.

She explains:  “A record is a wildlife observation, often species, made by someone in a particular location at a specific time.  So for example, this morning I saw a 14-spot ladybird in the village of Crowmarsh Gifford:

Screenshot from BRC website

Recorder: Helen Roy
Species: 14-spot ladybird
Location: Crowmarsh Gifford
Date: 11 June 2013

Records arrive at the BRC in many formats from records entered through electronic sources (for example, iRecord databases, spreadsheets or even Twitter) or handwritten records (on pre-designed recording cards, notebooks or sometimes on match boxes containing a specimen and even occasionally as intricate paintings).  As long as the what, where, when and by whom are clearly stated then the information constitutes a biological record.  It’s that easy!”

Drop by our Gardeners’ World stand to see a special website that will demonstrate how to make similar records of your own wildlife observations, as well as offer a gateway to the numerous recording schemes in the UK. As well as the chance to talk to our experts about some of the insects in your garden, we’ll also have wildlife planting on show, some superb insect models, real-life mini-beasts to view under the microscope, the chance to see and use new mobile phone recording apps such as iRecord Ladybirds and PlantTracker, and much more information about the rich history of biological recording in the UK.

The Marmalade hoverfly is one of the 5 insects we're focusing on at this year's stand.

The Biological Records Centre works with 80+ recording schemes, so whatever the insect in your garden, whether a pollinator or a predator, there will be a scheme eager to receive your observations. During the show, we’ll focus on five species in particular: the 7-spot ladybird, the Tree bumblebee, the Small tortoiseshell butterfly, the Marmalade hoverfly and the Oak bush cricket. Don’t worry if you don’t think you know these insects – our experts will be able to tell you all about them, and help you upload records of them from your own garden if you have seen them.

So please come meet our experts at stand GFW2, which is located in the Gardening for Wildlife area of this year’s show in Hall 19 of the NEC, Birmingham. The show runs daily from 9am to 6pm from Wednesday 12 to Sunday 16 June. If you can’t drop by in person, we’ll be posting photos and tweets from the event during the week, so stay tuned!

Go to Flickr to view latest photos.

Additional information

BBC Gardeners' World Live 2013 ft RHS Flower Show

Photos on Flickr from our 2013 stand - Pollinators and Predators

Biological Records Centre

UK Ladybird Survey

Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Scheme

Butterfly Conservation

Hoverfly recording scheme

Orthoptera recording scheme

Dr Helen Roy, staff page at CEH

Photos from last year's Gardeners' World Live