Revamped for 2021 to run in a covid-19 world
The 2021 University Mammal Challenge will be running for the fifth consecutive year from 1st October 2020 to 30th June 2021, but this year we’ve had to shake things up a little….
In summary: Simply use the Mammal Mapper App as much as possible over the 2020-2021 academic year to be in with a chance of winning some fantastic prizes!
What is the University Mammal Challenge?
The University Mammal Challenge (UMAC) is the Mammal Society’s annual student competition. Usually, teams of up to five students compete with each other to record the mammals on their university campuses using a variety of survey techniques. However, we’ve had to shake things up a little for UMAC 2021 to ensure it can run in a covid-19 world. To keep with social distancing, and factor in that many students might not even be on campus, we are running UMAC as a general student competition. Individual students, from any higher education institutions not just universities, can sign up to record mammals from wherever they are in the UK.
As students might not have access to specialist equipment such as bat detectors, small mammal traps, or camera traps this year, we are running UMAC 2021 solely through the Mammal Society’s Mammal Mapper App. The app can be downloaded on Android or iOS devices, and allows the user to report either one-off sightings or to report mammal signs and sightings along a recorded transect. The app was designed to survey mammals while out walking and tracks the route taken. This allows the Mammal Society to see where people are looking for mammals, even if they don’t see any! This is really useful information that enables absences to be recorded as well as relative densities to be calculated.
At the end of every month, each student’s Mammal Mapper data will be collated and a leader board will be updated showing summaries of the most submitted records and transects.
Under normal circumstances, UMAC runs from January to June, but for UMAC 2021 we have decided to cover the academic year and run from the start of October 2020 to the end of June 2021. This gives students 9 months to record as much as possible and there will be three tri-monthly prize giveaways at the start of January, April and July. This means that students can sign up at any point if they miss the October start, and those who can’t participate for the full 9 months can still be in with a chance of winning a prize. Although please note that there will be an overall prize for the winner of UMAC 2021 at the end of the 9 months, so the longer you participate for, the more likely you are to win!
“What is that prize?” we hear you ask. Well, we’re delighted to be offering the overall winner of UMAC 2021 a ticket to the 2022 Mammal Society Spring Conference!
If you are reading this now and think you might be able to offer a prize for a hardworking student, please do get in touch using the email address provided at the bottom, thank you.
Once you’re registered, every record from October 1st counts towards the competition!
Good luck and happy mammal spotting!
For updates follow Mammal Society Students on Twitter: @MammSocStudents
To find out more, email the Student Representative, Beth Smith on firstname.lastname@example.org