The Cumbria Lichen and Bryophyte Group has been short-listed for one of the National Biodiversity Network Awards for Wildlife Recording 2020. This recognises the contribution the group has made to recording aspects of the county’s natural history, even though it was only formed last year. They’ll find out if they have won the Group Award at an online conference on 18th November.
The group, that grew out of Plantlife’s Looking Out for the Small Things (LOST) project, is one of five short-listed for the group award. Group activities involve trips to sites of interest across the county; submitting records of what they find to national societies and the Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre at Tullie House in Carlisle; producing distribution maps; encouraging members to improve their identification skills and generally raising the profile of lichens, mosses and liverworts across Cumbria.
Even though many members knew little about lichens or mosses until a couple of years ago, the group has already been involved in finding new species of conservation importance for the county. Finds, such as that of Clare Shaw’s discovery of Pale Scalewort moss Radula voluta in Borrowdale, and the Lichen Group’s Geranium Firedot lichen Caloplaca herbidella, help with action to protect woodlands. And whilst Covid-19 has stopped group outings for the present, members are getting out on their own and keeping in touch via social media.
Group member Pete Martin said: “Cumbria has lots of really special natural places, from high mountains to Atlantic rainforest to lowland bogs. Lichens and mosses play a vital role in all of them but are rarely talked about or even noticed. We want to get people talking about small things!”
The group are keen to encourage others to get involved in finding out about lichens and bryophytes in the county. They have a website: https://cumbrialichensbryophytes.org.uk/ and run two Facebook groups: Cumbria Bryophytes and Cumbria Lichens.