What's Under Your Feet? 2018/19

Our exciting citizen science campaign is back for another year! 

We’re calling on schools across the UK to take part in an experiment to tell us what’s living in the soil beneath their playing fields or local green space, for an important scientific study for the British Trust for Ornithology. 

Help scientists at the BTO understand the relationship between climate, the availability of invertebrates and how this impacts UK bird numbers and their migration patterns.

It’s easy to take part and children will love being citizen scientists and working outside of the classroom. 

What do we need you to do?

  1. Sign up to take part 
  2. Conduct a dig and soil/invertebrate survey in March and June*
  3. Upload your data to the Pod here 

Already got your lesson plan, assembly and information pack? Find the Invertebrate Survey Sheet here. 

*Prize Draw* Schools who submit data for any of the digs in WUYF 2018/19 will be entered to win a camera nest box and other goodies..! Find out more

*You can take part any time in March and June. The scientists would like as much data as possible, but don't worry if you can only complete one dig - it's still an important contribution. 

Take part

Why take part?

This engaging activity is curriculum linked and will help develop analytical and scientific skills. Plus, students will be contributing to the first large scale study of soil invertebrate abundance across the country.

It's really important that you tell us about what you find - use the link from this page to input your data and we will send it to the scientists.

What do you have to do?

1. Use our starter presentation to tell everyone about the activity and how taking part will help scientists better understand what is happening.

2. Download the supporting resources - lesson plans with curriculum links, information pack for background on birds and climate change, data sheet, ID posters

3. Complete the activity by digging up small squares of soil and finding out what's under your feet. You will count the earthworms and use a very simple guide to identify the other larger invertebrates in and above the soil. Don't forget to complete your data sheet!

4. Upload the data from your sheets onto the Pod and we'll send it to the scientists.

5. Let us know what you've seen by adding blogs - we'd love to see pictures of what you find!

6. The BTO would also like to know about the birds visiting your school playing field or local green space. As an additional activity, why not carry out a bird survey - we have resources to help you identify the birds you spot.

When do I do it?

If possible we would like you to complete the activity 3 times throughout the school year - in October, March and June. We will remind you when it's time to do it!  

We hope you and your students enjoy taking part in this fun and valuable campaign! 

Join now

Campaign Wall

See all activity for this campaign from the Pod team and other schools. You can also add your activity to the Campaign Wall by adding a blog from your account.