Naturalness training successfulness

On Wednesday 24th January, we ran a Discovering Priority Habitats: Naturalness training course at Brathay Hall. Organised through the Windermere Community Partnership, this free course was available to all.

Josie from the Freshwater Biological Association ran the training, in partnership with the Natural Capital and Ecosystems Assessment Programme (NCEA) and Natural England. The programme aims to train citizen scientists to head out and survey their local becks, streams, rivers and lakes. The intention is to gather data for the Priority Habitats map, available to everyone to use.

Naturalness put simply means ‘natural function’. Volunteers assess the physical, hydrological, chemical and biological naturalness of a watercourse and upload this onto the Priority Habitats map.

By mapping our catchments watercourses, we can see where our priority habitats are, if they might require additional protection or if they are in need of restoration. Here at SCRT, we carry out a number of river restoration and habitat restoration projects, therefore this information will help us target areas for restoration.

Measurements collected on site are essential. Not only does it ensure the map is robust, but ground truthing existing data ensures its accuracy. Some sites don’t have any data at all! Hence, why volunteers are so vital – there just wouldn’t be the manpower otherwise.

On the day

Individuals from a number of our catchments attended and even some outside our catchment area. The morning involved a theory session and in the afternoon we headed out to put naturalness into practice. We carried out three practice surveys; one main river, one stream and one lake survey.

The training was positive and interactive, allowing volunteers to upskill and utilise these skills for the good of our local watercourses.

Interested in surveying? We may look to arrange another course soon, so please let us know if you’d be interested. Please e-mail Rachael at Find out more here:

Windermere Community Partnership 

The training was organised through the Windermere Community Partnership – a catchment hub for training, events and volunteers to come together to get involved and drive change for this unique catchment. Find out more: