FSC Biolinks Activity Plan: Component of the BioLinks project application to the Heritage Lottery Fund HG 15 01220 [version 2].
It is generally accepted that conservation of natural heritage is important to people, communities, and the environment. However, invertebrate species populations, distributions, and ecology are generally poorly understood in comparison to vertebrate and plant populations. It largely falls to volunteer biological recorders to tackle this data deficit, who often face barriers to their skill development through a lack of a cohesive and complete learning pathway. This in turn weakens both the national and local biological recording communities as organizations struggle to remain sufficiently resilient to support their volunteers and improve our understanding of natural heritage. The development phase of FSC BioLinks involved extensive consultation with both existing volunteers and sector professionals to shape the project's vision, aims, and activities. From this, the FSC envisages that BioLinks will develop nature's existing guardians and engage a new generation to record and tell the story of natural heritage. This will be achieved by offering structured personal development for volunteers and strengthening the biological recording community through working with an extensive network of affiliates. In order to achieve this vision, FSC BioLinks will develop existing volunteers and reach out to new audiences, including young adults and those with learning difficulties. The project will ensure that project activities are inclusive and will provide an evidence base regarding gender equality in the Biodiversity sector.