Guide for mentors

    Many thanks for agreeing to support the NatureSpot Mentoring Scheme as an expert mentor. This scheme aims to help wildlife recorders in Leicestershire and Rutland, both new and experienced, develop their identification skills across a wider range of taxon groups. In so doing it should encourage more interest in local wildlife, particularly the less popular taxon groups, and help to increase both the number of wildlife recorders and the number of records collected.

    How it works

    NatureSpot members who have demonstrated their interest and basic ability in recording by submitting several records can be invited to join the Mentoring Scheme. Once set up, they will see an option on the online recording form to seek mentoring help with the record(s) submitted on the form. It is assumed that one or more images will be included with the record details. The recorder is expected to have a go at the identification by naming the species as best they can.

    As a mentor your email and contact details are not made available to the mentee recorders. The records can only be directed to you via the NatureSpot website. We have the option to remove any individual from the mentoring scheme at any time, and if you so wish, we can similarly remove you as a mentor too. Numbers of participants will be restricted so we don’t anticipate large numbers of requests coming through the scheme.

    What you are asked to do

    If you are a mentor for that particular taxon group, you will receive an email flagging up that a relevant species has been submitted and your help is requested. This email will include a link to a web page listing the record(s) requiring your assistance, showing basic record details plus the submitted images.

    As the following flow chart shows, depending on the identification there are three main tasks asked of you:

    1. Change the species name and/or confidence rating
    2. Add a brief comment
    3. Verify or reject the record


    Once you are set up as a mentor you will see a ‘Mentoring’ link at the very top of the NatureSpot website with 'Mentoring Home' appearing on the drop down options when you rest your mouse curser on this link. This will always offer you a route to find the page with records requiring your help.

    The first two links are for mentees. Only mentors can view all the above.

    List records requiring my mentoring assistance

    This is the main page you will need and is the one that your email notification links to. It will only show records submitted to the mentoring scheme that are within your taxon group.

    If desired, you can sort the records alphabetically by clicking on any of the headings, or filter by entering your search words in the row below the column headings (then clicking anywhere outside this row).

    Mentoring actions

    On the right of the screen you will see a list of menu options for the actions you can take.

    How to change the species name and confidence rating

    If the proposed species name is incorrect but you can identify it from the image and details provided, please change the species name. Do this even if your identification is only ‘likely’.

    The confidence rating shows how sure we are of the identification. The ‘stars’ icon (I’ll ask JvB to add this) on your mentoring group page indicates what the recorder has entered: 3*=Certain, 2*=Likely, 1*= Maybe. Only ‘certain’ records are usually passed on to the relevant local and national recording schemes.

    If you are sure of the species identity then check that  the confidence rating to certain. If it isn’t possible to be certain of the species identity but is likely to be a given species, then change the rating to ‘likely’.

    • Click on the ‘notepad’ icon to open and edit the original record
    • To the left of the species name you will see the ‘notepad’ icon again. Click this and start to type the correct species name (common or latin). Keep entering letters until you see the menu list appear. If necessary, typing a few more letters to narrow down the menu list. You MUST then click on the menu listing, don’t try to type in the full species name.
    • If necessary, change the Confidence entry to ‘certain’ or ‘likely’
    • Now click SUBMIT to save the change.
    • Use the Mentoring Home page link to get back to ‘Records requiring my mentoring assistance’.

    Add a comment

    As the mentoring scheme aims to help improve the ID skills of the recorder, it would be appreciated if you could enter a few words using the ‘Add a comment’ link. This could be a simple ‘well done’ if the identification is correct or a pointer to what to look for next time if not.

    Recorders will receive an email with your comment together with a note of the action you have taken.

    Verify / Reject a record

    When you are have reviewed the record (changing the name and confidence rating as necessary) and added a brief comment, please click on the verify or reject links.

    • Verify the record – the species name entered is certain or likely
    • Reject the record – the species can’t be identified, even as likely