Join the Great Nut Hunt!
Join us and help save endangered dormice - and hunt for the gold hazel nut!
Members of the public are being asked to help save the rare hazel dormouse by taking part in a nationwide survey of woodlands around the country. The Great Nut Hunt enlists the help of the public to ferret out gnawed nuts to determine the distribution and numbers of this rare woodland mammal.
The Great Nut Hunt is run by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and supported by Natural England.
To encourage would-be ‘nutters’ to take part in the survey, PTES has hidden 21 specially-commissioned nuts, 20 in silver and a single gold one, across counties in England and Wales.
“The best time to conduct the survey is over the autumn and winter when discarded nut shells are easiest to find on the woodland floor, before the leaf litter is too dense,” said PTES Chief Executive Jill Nelson. “The survey uses simple techniques requiring no specialised skills, making the Great Nut Hunt a fun activity for young and old ‘nutters’ alike as well as an ideal family expedition. With the help of the public, this year we hope to exceed the 250,000 nuts found in 1993!”
“Nut Hunts are a great way of monitoring dormice and this method has now been copied in other countries,” said Dr Helen Phillips, Chief Executive of Natural England. “The nuts you send in really do make a difference to dormouse conservation by helping us understand how well dormice are surviving and where they still occur so that steps can be taken to ensure their long term survival. What better excuse to get out and enjoy our fantastic woodlands and help save these rare mammals.”
So, if you go down to the woods, make sure to look for signs of dormice and you may just find a gold nut!
To take part in the Great Nut Hunt, which runs until March 2010, register online here. Participants will receive a survey pack which contains more information about the silver and gold nut prizes and clues as to their whereabouts, as well as more information about the hazel dormouse, a recording form, the Countryside Code and guides on how to identify hazel trees and nibbled nuts.