Who’s Calling? started in 2018 under the name The Lost Sounds. The project was developed as part of a programme of work in an EPSRC Senior Fellowship programme [Grant number: EP/P002285/1) exploring digital technologies and environmental change. Funding for the pilot project came from a Lancaster University Science and Technology Outreach Grant, match-funded by Computing at Schools.

The project is currently funded through a successful bid to the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account. The application for this award was supported by the Eden Project, the National Trust and RSPB. Who’s Calling? is also supported by the Future Places Centre at Lancaster University, which encourages the use of computing to understand places and complex interrelationships in natural environments.

The ideas that formed The Lost Sounds started through my thesis research. I was struck by the decline in amateur naturalists in each generation and wanted to design activities to that encouraged naturalist skills, like noticing and spending time outdoors. I was keen to use a multi-dimensional approach so there was something for everyone. Arts, technology and outdoor activities predominate but the workshops can be designed to incorporate other interests.

Through my thesis I designed artefacts so that people might experience public gardens in a different way, using technologies to amplify senses or reveal hidden dimensions. In this project I began to thing about the activities that might support a digital naturalist. Partly this was to explore the use of digital technologies for supporting connection to ecosystems, but it was also a reminder that digital fieldwork co-exists with traditional skills.

The ideas developed through conversations with friends and colleagues and serendipitous encounters. I remember someone from Morecambe Bay Partnership talking with sadness about the loss of Corncrakes locally, and the decline of Curlews, and how her children were experiencing a changing soundscape. I was inspired by the power of The Lost Words book by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, and at Lancaster Literature Festival, watching Jackie bring an otter ‘to life’ with brush and ink increased my desire to do something. A blog with visual bird call prompts also got me thinking and eventually The Lost Sounds was born.

Since then we have run workshops in primary schools, community centres, at charitable organisations and

Since then Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris have released their own work, The Lost Sounds and while I love their work it seems time to change the name of this project to differentiate

Lots of people have contributed to the project including the Ensemble research team, university colleagues (shout out to Lorraine Underwood, Miriam Sturdee and Lucy Hunt), student helpers, (special shout out to Ryan Warren and Matthew Templeton who have done a huge amount of work on the project) and volunteers. Staff and volunteers from wildlife organisations, including RSPB, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, National Trust, Natural England and The Bay: A Blueprint for Recovery have supported workshops, either in their roles, or in a personal capacity (special thanks to Emma Garston and Deborah Woods). Others organisations including Morecambe Bay Partnership have influenced and encouraged its development. Most of all, teachers, particularly those connected to the Morecambe Bay Curriculum have supported the workshops and shared advice that have shaped the activities.