Doncaster Naturalists’ Society – Recording Doncaster’s Wildlife since 1880

Members of the Society have been recording the natural history of Doncaster for well over a century. There are a variety of reasons to record; perhaps simply for your own interest, or maybe to provide information about important wildlife sites so that they can be protected. Our records are an important resource that can also illustrate how Doncaster’s habitats and landscapes have changed over time.

The Society’s records are sent to the Doncaster Local Records Centre, hosted by Doncaster Council. These records are a true legacy of the Society.

Members Own Records

Individual Members can also make a contribution to the Local Records Centre’s database by supplying their own privately collected records to the Biological Records Officer at brc “at” or by post to :
Doncaster Local Records Centre,
Built and Natural Environment Team,
Directorate of Regeneration and Environment,
Civic Office,
Doncaster, DN1 3BU.

There are also many online recording schemes which allow you to submit records. iRecord is also a site for managing and sharing your wildlife records

Please note that not all national or online schemes automatically supply your records to the Local Records Centres. If you want your records to be available for use locally then always send them to the relevant Local Records Centre.

What makes a Record?

There are four very simple elements to a biological record: What, Where, When and Who.

What did you record – ideally using the Scientific Name (also known as the Binomial Name, formed by the generic name (the ‘Genus’) and the species name (the ‘Specific epithet’) of the wildlife you have seen. Spelling the name correctly is important so use an online checklist, for example
or a trusted source such as the Natural History Museum You can use the common name on occasions but it is best also to give the full Scientific Name. If you cannot be sure of the precise species then the minimum level of detail is the generic name e.g. Quercus for ‘oak’ but please be aware that records that are only accurate to this level are less ‘useful’.

Where did you record it – Ideally provide a grid reference. Be as accurate as you can – A six figure reference is the preferred minimum e.g. SE613039 however a 1km Ordnance Survey grid square SE6103 can also be sufficient if you also give a named location – such as ‘Sandall Beat Wood, Doncaster’ with a further second level of accuracy such as ‘Drain bank on Pheasant Ride, opposite the Fen’. For rare species, an 8 or 10 figure reference is recommended. Most smartphones have a built-in GPS with the required level of accuracy. There are online tools to help you find a grid reference such as or

When it was recorded – This is a simple date. Preferably a single day, but a date range such as April to July 2019 (04/2019 to 07/2019) is also acceptable. If sending in several records try to be consistent with the way you record the date. The standard format of dd/mm/yyyy (e.g. 05/06/2019) is probably best.

Who – the name of the person who recorded it. Ideally provide contact details when you send records to the Local Records Centre so that they can follow up any queries about your observation. You may be contacted for further details during a process known as data validation. With rarer or difficult-to-identify species you may be asked to provide details of who determined what the species was. Remember, there are knowledgeable Society Members and Regional experts such as Yorkshire Naturalist’ Union Recorders available to help you with identifications.

Additional information – You can also include any level of extra detail that you think is important, such as abundance, age, growth stage (seedling, flowering, larvae, adult etc.). For some species groups it can also be useful to record the method of survey. e.g. Quadrat sample (for plants) or sweep net or Mercury vapour lamp for species such as moths.

Useful advice and information (including data entry spreadsheet and forms) can be found here:

Other information on biological recording is available from many online sources such as