Every one of us can become a biodiversity observer. In cities and in the countryside, curious people – from families and children to experienced naturalists – can help to collect information about the nature that surrounds us. For the past twenty years, Vigie-Nature has offered simple and effective protocols that are available to all and which can be used to observe birds, bats, snails, dragonflies, pollinating insects and wild urban plants. The data collected using these protocols are submitted to scientists for processing and analysis.
As part of its commitment to the preservation of biodiversity, the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès supports this project, and in particular Vigie-Nature École, a version conceived specially for pupils in primary-school education onwards. This programme enables schoolchildren of all ages to contribute to a scientific effort that in turn offers them a chance to engage directly with the natural world. From observing how many insects land on a single plant over the course of twenty minutes to counting the population of snails in a given area or surveying the wild plants growing in the streets of a particular neighbourhood, the programme offers a wealth of opportunities to monitor the strength of everyday biodiversity, up close and in real time.
By measuring the abundance and diversity of species – two key metrics for evaluating the wellbeing of the plants and wildlife that surround us every day – Vigie-Nature École represents a fundamental tool for scientific researchers. A playful spirit, meanwhile, makes the programme an effective means of raising young people’s environmental awareness whilst introducing them to scientific methods. Indeed, in return for the collection of data, researchers share their analysis with participating schools. In this way, following their experience in the field, pupils can discover the erosion of biodiversity in contexts that are familiar to them, whether they live in cities or in the countryside.