Meet the Species
Meet the Species is part of Discovering Places the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Campaign to inspire the UK to discover their local environment.
In early 2011, the Meet the Species team set out on an epic quest: to bring scientists, naturalists, schools groups and members of the public together in the search for 2,012 species of wildlife for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
At nearly 150 thrilling events, thousands of participants joined the race up and down the country, meeting around 4,000 species along the way (some number crunching still going on). So far 1,759 of these are on our 2,012 list with 253 still to find.
We think there are three main reasons for not finding some of these elusive species:
- Seasonality – most of our events took place over the summer months so we are missing a few autumn moths, fungi and winter birds that migrate for the summer
- Expertise – some of our species are very difficult to identify and rely on the right expert, to be in the right place, at the right time to get a positive record – we don’t record if we’re not sure!
- Rarity – Some of our species are either very uncommon – like the Goose Barnacle, or very local in their distribution – like the Red Squirrel, so if we don’t have an event in the right place we can easily miss them.
We’ve had an amazing time engaging with people and nature in this epic survey and thousands have got closer to nature and learned about the importance and the fun of taking part in wildlife surveys. Hopefully we will hit our target of ticking off every species on the list by the end of the Paralympic Games but even if we don’t, with your help we have made a significant contribution to conservation research by generating over 12,500 biological records and counting! This data will be used by scientists and conservationists to monitor the state of the UK’s wildlife, influencing the decisions made by land managers and politicians in the future.
A massive thank you goes out to all of the naturalists, scientists, organisations, schools and individuals who have volunteered their time, skills and efforts to help with Meet the Species and of course to all those who contributed to our Final Lap Blog! We hope you had fun…we know we did! So whether you’ve iSpotted your wildlife sightings, joined a Meet the Species accredited event, met the team at one of our feature events or joined in the Final Lap blog, thank you so much for joining the race. Of course you can continue to take part in any of the amazing surveys run by organisations all over the country.
The important thing now is to keep up the good work!
Best wishes and enjoy meeting more species,
The Meet the Species Team
Meet the Species is a project that engages large numbers of people with the environment around them by helping them discover the wildlife that they share it with.
The project invites people to get actively involved in the identification and surveying of species, and as it's the year of London 2012 we thought why not try and collect records for 2012 of them!
You can use this website to check out our list of 2012 species and help us find them by getting involved in one of our 100+ accredited and feature events or sending in your discoveries online! You can even join the race by running your own Meet the Species activity with your school using our free education resources.
Meet the Species, part of Discovering Places, is principally funded by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor. Discovering Places is delivered in partnership between The Heritage Alliance and London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.