Tracking the Impact

Tracking the Impact

If you are passionate about protecting wildlife, would like to carry out bird, butterfly or plant surveys in unexplored areas of the Chilterns, or want to improve your ID skills, then Tracking the Impact could be for you!

Learn new skills, benefit from a wide range of free online and in-person training, and improve your knowledge of local birds, plants and butterflies. Then put your learning into practice and take on your own 1km square to monitor and record local wildlife during the year.

Your work will be of vital importance, not only to help us understand the state of nature at a local level, but also to feed into a wide range of national initiatives, including the Breeding Bird Survey, Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey and National Plant Monitoring Scheme.

Take part in 2024

Recruitment for our 2024 surveying season is now open! Register you interest here.

Whether you interest is in birds, butterflies and/or plants, we offer exciting opportunities to:

  • take on new survey squares and get involved in national recording schemes
  • receive training in species ID and survey techniques
  • offer training and support to new volunteer surveyors

By getting involved in the project, you will make a big difference to local wildlife in the Chilterns and contribute to national recording schemes. You will also get the chance to meet with other surveyors and get feedback on the project at regular workshops and events.

We are running two events to welcome back our trained citizen scientists and invite newcomers to the project to see and celebrate what we have managed to find out so far, while also looking to help us ensure full coverage of wildlife monitoring across the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 2024! Why not come along and find out more?

Online training for citizen scientists

We provide a number of informative online training sessions, which you can now view on our Youtube channel. These should give you a sense of the wide range of experts and enthusiasts we have feeding into our group of around 200 volunteers, and the great knowledge sharing opportunities offered by our regular meet-ups and WhatsApp group.

View the training slides and presentations

About the Project

Tracking the Impact is an exciting landscape-scale wildlife surveying programme running across the Central Chilterns as part of the Chalk, Cherries and Chairs initiative. It offers new surveying opportunities for both experienced surveyors and the next generation through a comprehensive training package covering species ID and survey techniques. The project dovetails with existing national recording schemes, including the Breeding Bird Survey, Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey and National Plant Monitoring Scheme; thus, bolstering coverage in a ground-breaking partnership.

In 2023, we teamed up with the River Chess Smarter Water Catchment project to extend our survey area into the Chess catchment. This means we have upped our original coverage of 50 1km squares by a fantastic 22 squares. We also worked with the National Trust to bring in 6 more Breeding Bird Survey squares, making a grand total of 78 1km survey squares. The data we gain from our surveys will be used to track trends across the landscape over time and inform practical woodland, grassland and farmland habitat management projects.

Tracking the Impact now has more than 200 volunteers involved, either carrying out formal surveys, taking part in training courses or actively engaged in our WhatsApp group.

We have funding in place for the 2024 season and are looking at ways in which we can continue the programme once the National Lottery Heritage Funding for Chalk, Cherries and Chairs ends. We are also working nationally with the Joint Nature Conservancy Council (JNCC) and locally with BBOWT and the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Natural Environment Partnership to look at the potential to scale Tracking the Impact up over a wider landscape area.

Project area

Tracking the Impact is part of the Chalk, Cherries and Chairs Landscape Partnership Scheme which is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund & and HS2 Community & Engagement Fund, and managed by the Chilterns Conservation Board. In 2023, we teamed up with the River Chess Smarter Water Catchment project, led in partnership by the Chilterns Chalks Streams Project and Chiltern Society, to extend Tracking the Impact surveys into the Chess catchment.

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Results so far

We have seen some incredible results so far – in the first two years of the project, our team of volunteers has helped reach 60% coverage of our project area! All of the records for the survey squares have been entered onto our new online interactive map, so you can see for yourself what birds, butterfly and plants have been recorded and where.

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For more information please contact

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Nick Marriner

Role: Landowner Engagement Officer
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Hannah Parry-Wilson

Role: Citizen Science Coordinator (SWC)

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Read more on our blog

Tracking the Impact – 2023 season ends on a high!

The 2023 Tracking the Impact season is over. Support continues to grow, and we would like to draw 2023 to a close by saying a huge thank you to everyone involved.

Tracking the Impact: In Celebration of Volunteers

Tracking the Impact - an online celebration of the role of the volunteers involved in this Citizen Science and conservation project.

Volunteer survey results in fantastic news for birds and farmers in the Central Chilterns

Ready for some good news? Nick has recapped all of the amazing work done by our volunteers as part of...

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Check out our Youtube channel

Enjoy our free online training, conference recordings, music videos, as well as project progress updates!