By Julia Dance 10th June 2021

We recently sent out 5000 of our fold-out wildlife ID guides to young people as part of the Generation Green project – we hope lots of you will be using them to connect with nature when out and about this summer. If you were lucky enough to get some of these guides, or if you’ve just bought yourself some and are getting started, here are some tips to help you use our guides to identify plant and animal species.

Step 1 – Narrow down using the pictures

Our guides are picture-based rather than a dichotomous key.  First, by looking through the pictures, you can usually narrow down the choices to just a few species. We have deliberately placed similar-looking and easily confusable species close to each other for easy comparison.

Step 2 – Confirm using the text

Using pictures alone is often not enough to allow you to identify something, which is why the fold-out guide also includes text.  Read the text on the reverse side to make sure that the features you have used for identification are reliable.

Step 3 – Check and share with others

If you are still unsure, you could try uploading a photo of what you saw to the iSpot app where a friendly and free community help to identify wildlife and share nature.

We publish 95 fold out guides to help people identify all sorts of species. Have a look at the complete list. If you’d like to read more about adventures in wildlife identification, read our blog by Pippa Dashfield on how she got started.