Wildwood Trust is working in collaboration with the Kent Mammal Group on a project funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to find out the current distribution of the Harvest Mouse (Micromys minutus), across the county of Kent. The species is thought to be declining, but without an up-to-date survey of their distribution it is difficult to know its true conservation status. A species survey on this scale has not been undertaken in Kent before, and most of the old records are anecdotal. The aim of the survey is to create a presence/absence map for each 4km squared grid space across the whole county. The 5-year project is entering its final season and has seen a fair proportion of the area surveyed. However, there is still a long way to go!
We survey by searching for their woven tennis ball-shaped nests, which are suspended off the ground in long grass. No specialist knowledge is required, just a little prior training in survey methods. We will even suggest somewhere suitable to look near where you live. Surveying takes place from autumn through to spring, when the nests are easier to find.
If you are interested in helping us reach our goal of surveying the whole of Kent for Harvest Mice you can attend one of the free “Harvest Mouse Ecology and Surveying” courses at Wildwood (and at other locations around Kent) that will give you all the background and field skills required to go out and survey your local area for Harvest Mice. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The five-year citizen science project to survey Kent, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund has come to an end. You can read a summary report here.
Our work with harvest mice is continuing. Wildwood Trust, with support from the Kent Mammal Group, will continue to monitor and safeguard the species in the county. There will be further opportunities to be involved in the next phase. Watch this space.