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Six nature apps you need to have this spring

Chris Hitchings

BBC Springwatch Digital Team

As the saying goes “There’s an app for that!”. Whether you’re an expert naturalist, a part-time birder, or entirely new to loving British wildlife, there are fantastic apps that can help expand your knowledge. Some of them will even let you add your findings into national databases of wildlife.

We’ve tried and tested all the apps below. They’re all free and available across a variety of platforms. 'appy downloading! 

Bee Count

We all know bees are a vital part of our ecosystem. The Great British Bee Count returns this year to count just how many of them are living in our gardens, parks and countryside. Counters are being encouraged to count bees using the app, which is super easy to use. Upon opening it, the app vibrates, mimicking a bee's buzz - maybe a gimmick but something I certainly thought was cool! You're then encouraged to upload a photo of the bee you have spotted, then select which species of bee it is. The next step is to enter what the weather was like, the habitat you spotted the bee in, and then your location at the time of spotting. It's really worth a download and is a great way to support one of our vulnerable species.

 

Cost: Free 

Where can I get it? App store or Google Play 

British Trees by The Woodland Trust

What’s that leaf? What kind of tree is that? Is it a native species? These are all questions that can be answered in this fantastic app by The Woodland Trust. It is easy to use and includes plenty of information on different species of tree. You can identify trees by their features such as leaves, branches or fruit, or you can browse through an A-Z of British trees. The app allows you to save your ‘favourite’ trees, and also tells you about their features and threats they face.

Cost: Free  

Where can I get it? App store or Google Play 

 

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Birdtrack by BTO

From our partners at the British Trust for Ornithology. Their app allows users to log sightings of birds and create lists of species they have seen. Once you have logged in, you can see other local spots by birders near to you, helping you track down any species you haven’t yet spotted!

Cost: Free

Where can I get it? App store or Google Play 

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Wildtime by Fieldwork

This app is a great choice if you’ve got children. The app offers a load of choices of activities for young children to help them engage with nature. It’s simple to use, colourful and allows you to set time limits for activities. Upon opening the app you’re asked how long you’d like to spend enjoying nature – 10, 20, 30 minutes? Maybe you have half a day? From there you’re offered a selection of activities from looking at birds in the garden, to tasks that take longer like building a wild den. This app is brilliant fun and will tear even the most TV dedicated tots away from their screens.

Cost: Free

Where can I get it? App store or Google Play

 

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Nature Finder by The Wildlife Trusts

Sometimes you just need a break. The Wildlife Trusts have produced an app that showcases all their locations across the UK – perfect for planning a quick wildlife getaway! Once you’ve selected a destination, the app will tell you about the kinds of wildlife you’d expect to find there and why it lives in that location. There is also information on more than 900 UK species and habitats, at your fingertips. If you’re keen to get more involved, you can see upcoming events near you to join in with too.

Cost: Free

Where can I get it? App store or Google Play

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50 things to do before you're 11 and three quarters by The National Trust 

One of our partner organisations for our new home in Gloucestershire, the National Trust has produced a visually stunning app to showcase its locations across the UK. The app uses geo-location data to tell users where their nearest Trust site is and gives them ideas of things to do there. You can complete achievements along the way, parents then get a certificate saying the achievement has been completed - handy to print off and put on the fridge? 

Cost: Free

Where can I get it? App store or Google Play

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