Yorkshire iCASP, coordinator of the WaterLANDS UK Action Site, is hard at work running four Citizen Science workshops in Northumberland, Cumbria and West Yorkshire to discuss the development of peatland and how it can be managed in the future.

These sessions are a combination of engaging and informative presentations with practical hands-on peat coring activities that aim to expand participants’ understanding and appreciation of peatlands’ long and changing histories.

Two citizen science workshops have been held already, with two more to go in July. In one session, specialised Russian and gouge peat corers were used to take sections of peat from various depths prompting a discussion about the general development of peatland. Contrasts between peat accumulated in pre- and post-industrial revolution times were visible and potential drivers behind this change highlighted.

The sessions have been a success with representatives from many different organisations taking part. Everyone has shown great interest in what we can learn from palaeo-archives about the dynamic nature of peatlands and their close connection to thousands of years of human history.

Joshua Cohen, research fellow with University of Leeds, said: “It is a great opportunity for people with different views on peatland management to come together, take part in a site visit to local blanket peatland, and take cores to see first-hand what is beneath the surface and to interpret findings in terms of peatland development.

“It had a real impact on our group when we used tools to core four metres deep and we could see and touch the layers of peat which had developed over 4,000 years.”

Through citizen science, we can collect data on peatlands as a means of gaining large useful datasets that can inform their management, while also engaging the public with the unique benefits and beauty of peatlands.

Find out more about the work of Yorkshire iCASP on their website.

To join or find out more about the UK citizen science workshops in July, check out the event links below!