Medal winning wildlife hunt

BUDDING naturalists had the opportunity to win their very own medals at a wildlife spotting day earlier this month.

The Meet the Species Medal Challenge at Lathkilldale National Nature Reserve challenged visitors to record the plants and animals they could spot – with medals being awarded according to the number found.

Bronze went to those finding at least 20 species and silver to those who spotted at least 50.

However, the most observant participants – who saw 100 or more species – were awarded a gold medal.

In total, more than 200 different types of living things were found including 123 plant, 36 bird and 16 butterfly species.

Paul Maddox, Natural England’s Community Outreach Adviser for Derbyshire Dales NNR, said: “My favourite species was the wonderfully named ploughman’s spikenard – a tall elegant plant with yellow and purplish flowers.

I also particularly enjoyed the range of people who took part.

“Although the day had been planned with families in mind, a large number of adults also entered into the spirit of the event and were delighted to leave with their own medals.”

The challenge formed part of a national project linked to the London 2012 games.