Wildlife lovers across the UK have the chance to contribute to a crowd-sourced nature diary today to celebrate the official arrival of spring - Friday 20 March.
The digital diary aims to capture the start of the season by calling on people to document their observations of wildlife, the weather and what spring means to them in no more than 150 words.
As the nation adapts to a very different way of life over the coming months, the initiative will encourage people to engage with their own natural surroundings, which can offer benefits to both physical and mental health.
Observations can be made in people’s gardens, in the countryside or even through windows, so those limited by the effects of the coronavirus can still take part.
The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Land Lines research project at the University of Leeds and the National Trust, who are behind the project, say that nature can offer comfort in uncertain times and are encouraging the public to take notice of the seasonal changes around them.
In 2019 more than four hundred people from the four nations of the UK contributed to the first diary – the ‘Writes of spring’.
The National Trust has closed its houses, shops and cafes to restrict the spread of coronavirus but is working hard to keep open spaces accessible where possible.
The charity’s nature expert Andy Beer said: “Spring is the turning point of the year, when we can step outside without a winter coat and feel the warmth of the sun on our face.
“But for many of us, this year’s spring will feel very different.
“In these uncertain times, nature can offer comfort and calm. Right now, wildlife is busy waking up, trees are bursting into blossom and garden birds are singing. Nature is there for all of us – whether we experience it in our garden or local park, or simply through the window.”
All of the diary entries – which could take the form of a poem or prose – will be curated on a special spring blog.