Upcoming events

Creating computer-based ID visualisations and keys

Thursday, February 23, 2017
NEW!

Over the course of 2015 and 2016 the Tomorrow’s Biodiversity project has been working on novel ways to create and present computer-based tools for biological identification, including multi-access keys. This has culminated in the publication of a free, open-source framework to empower people to create computer-based resources of their own.

In this workshop you will discover how to use Excel to create a knowledge-base of any taxonomic group (large or small) that can drive visualisation tools, e.g. multi-access keys, using the Tom.bio ID Visualisation Framework. You will be instructed on the simple process of installing the Tom.bio ID Visualisation Framework on your own computer, enabling you to run the visualisations driven by your knowledge-base as you create it.

The framework and visualisations can be run ‘stand-alone’ on your computer, but you will also be given instruction on how to publish visualisations you build on the internet, should you want to.

This is not a programming course and you DO NOT need experience of programming to be able to attend this course – only a working knowledge of Excel and an appetite of experimenting with a new way of visualising identification problems on computers.

This course is subsidised by the Tomorrow’s Biodiversity Project – there is only a nominal booking fee of £10.

Earthworm ecology (Amersham Bucks)

Saturday, March 18, 2017
NEW!

Few people realise that Great Britain is home to 29 species of earthworm. This beginners' course, held at the FSC's Amersham Field Centre in Buckinghamshire, will take you through the biology and ecology of these fascinating ecosystem engineers, and explain why all earthworms are not the same. Participants will be introduced to the different sampling methods for recording earthworms.

Course fees: £37.

Earthworm Ecology (Bishop's Wood, Worcestershire)

Saturday, April 8, 2017
NEW!

Few people realise that Great Britain is home to 29 species of earthworm. This beginners' course, held at the FSC's Bishops Wood Centre in Worcestershire, will take you through the biology and ecology of these fascinating ecosystem engineers, and explain why all earthworms are not the same. Participants will be introduced to the different sampling methods for recording earthworms.

Course fees: £40.

Dissection Techniques for Moth ID Verification

Saturday, April 8, 2017 to Sunday, April 9, 2017
FULLY BOOKED

Preston Montford, Shropshire

This course will introduce participants to the dissection techniques required to verify the identification of critical groups of macro and micro moths. See the course brochure for more details.

Places on this course are heavily subsidised by the FSC Tomorrow's Biodiversity project and are limited to only six places. The full cost to the customer of £120 includes full residential B&B for Saturday night and represents outstanding value for a technical course of this quality.

Earthworm ecology (London)

Saturday, April 22, 2017
NEW!

Few people realise that Great Britain is home to 29 species of earthworm. This beginners' course, held at the FSC's London Centre, will take you through the biology and ecology of these fascinating ecosystem engineers, and explain why all earthworms are not the same. Participants will be introduced to the different sampling methods for recording earthworms.

Course fees: £37.

Soil Mesofauna

Friday, April 28, 2017 to Monday, May 1, 2017

Preston Montford, Shropshire

This course, unique in the UK, has developed a reputation for excellence over the last few years. It introduces the fascinating and complex world of soil biodiversity and identification of soil mesofauna, in particular springtails and soil mites.  The course includes field sampling as well as classroom identification using microscopes, including where applicable some advanced microscope techniques. 

The course is led by leading UK experts in these groups: Matthew Shepherd, Peter Shaw and Felicity Crotty. This course is offered at a reduced rate thanks to support from the FSC Tomorrow's Biodiversity project.

A Holistic and Practical Introduction to QGIS

Monday, May 8, 2017 to Wednesday, May 10, 2017

QGIS is a freely available open-source Geographic Information System (GIS) that matches the functionality and usability of commercial products like MapInfo and ArcGIS. It has been adopted by governments, businesses and NGOs around the world. The course is suitable for beginners to GIS, those looking to refresh their skills or those looking to migrate to QGIS software. It will help ecological consultants, wildlife organisations, biological recorders and recent graduates to visualise, explore and analyse spatial data. The course will take a holistic approach to ensure participants have the skills needed to confidently implement GIS projects in the workplace. General topics will include GIS fundamentals, data licencing, map design, spatial data management and work-flow design.

Matt Davies is a professional ecologist and geographer with 20 years’ experience in the UK environment sector. He began his career at JNCC, providing GIS and database support on marine and coastal projects. He then worked at the capital’s Environmental Record Centre, GiGL, where he managed a multi-disciplinary team that supported volunteer, community and wildlife recording groups and integrated their data into government decision making and the operational delivery of transport companies and emergency services. In 2015, he founded the geo-spatial consultancy Maplango to help people collect, analyse and visualise spatial data so they can make better informed decisions.

Earthworm Society of Britain Identification Weekend - Yorkshire Dales

Saturday, May 13, 2017 to Sunday, May 14, 2017

This two day earthworm sampling and identification course, hosted by the FSC's Malham Tarn Field Centre, is suitable for those with no earthworm experience through to fully trained earthworm recorders. Please note that the sampling day will require a reasonable level of fitness and the collection and preservation of specimens.

Course fees:

  • Non-members: £20 (includes 1 year membership and recorder pack);
  • Members: £15 (includes recorder pack).
  • ESB Trained Earthworm Recorders: No fee (though current membership is required).

For more information and to book a place on the course please contact Keiron Brown.

Learn To Love Spiders

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Preston Montford, Shropshire

If you’re interested in spiders but never felt ready for a beginner’s ID workshop, then this day is for you! It’s a day for people who are fascinated by spiders but don’t know where to start with them. It’s a very gentle introduction to the world of spiders and the art telling one spider from another. Come and learn about these fascinating and wonderful creatures!  This course is offered at a reduced rate of only £10 thanks to support from the FSC Tomorrow's Biodiversity project.

Earthworm Society of Britain Identification Weekend - Cumbria

Saturday, June 10, 2017 to Sunday, June 11, 2017

This two day earthworm sampling and identification course, hosted by the FSC's Castle Head Field Centre, is suitable for those with no earthworm experience through to fully trained earthworm recorders. Please note that the sampling day will require a reasonable level of fitness and the collection and preservation of specimens.

Course fees:

  • Non-members: £20 (includes 1 year membership and recorder pack)
  • Members: £15 (includes recorder pack)
  • ESB Trained Earthworm Recorders: No fee (though current membership is required).

For more information and to book a place on the course please contact Keiron Brown.

Field ID of Spiders and Harvestmen

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Preston Montford, Shropshire

Many spiders and harvestmen can be identified and recorded in the field, with the aid a simple piece of kit called a spi-pot, before being released again. You will be introduced to the techniques of identifying live spiders and harvestmen. We will collect live spiders and harvestmen around the grounds of Preston Montford and bring them back into the classroom for a closer look, before releasing them again.

This course is offered at a reduced rate of £30 thanks to support from the FSC Tomorrow's Biodiversity project.

Solitary Bees: Identification and Ecology

Friday, July 14, 2017 to Friday, July 21, 2017

Flatford Mill, Suffolk

This week-long course will introduce participants to the identification and ecology of solitary bees including nesting and foraging requirements, hosts and associated aculeate nest parasites.
Introduction to the identification of genera and species will be through a combination of presentations, field visits and microscope workshops using keys and prepared specimens.
By the end of the course participants should be more confident in identifying the more commonly encountered families and genera.  The week-long format will allow participants to fully immerse themselves in the topic and really consolidate their day-to-day learning.

Solitary Bees: Self study weekend

Friday, July 14, 2017 to Monday, July 17, 2017

Flatford Mill, Suffolk

This runs alongside the first half of the week-long taught Solitary Bees: Identification and Ecology course.  We are offering people the chance to come together to identify their own solitary bee specimens in a supportive peer-to-peer environment.  The classroom space and basic equipment will be provided but attendees are encouraged to bring their own microscope. 

Please note that this weekend is designed for those already experienced enough to self-study, with only occasional support and verification provided by the tutors of the concurrent week-long course.  There is no official taught element to this weekend.  The prices are as follows:

  • £172 single occupancy
  • £142 shared
  • £100 non-residential
  • £8/head for use of the minibus if required

To register your interest in attending please email Charlie Bell.

An Introduction to the Fundamentals of QGIS

Monday, July 24, 2017

Formerly known as Quantum GIS, QGIS is a freely available open-source Geographic Information System (GIS) of the highest quality. Thanks to a community of dedicated and talented developers and an active and vocal user community, QGIS matches the functionality and usability of commercial products like MapInfo and ArcGIS.

An increasing number of ecologists and biological recorders are using this free GIS software to help them visualise, explore and analyse spatial data.

During this course, participants will be introduced to the fundamental concepts of GIS and basic operations of QGIS.

We will cover topics like obtaining and displaying basemap data (e.g. Ordnance Survey basemaps and Google & Bing aerial imagery), capturing spatial data, loading data from GPS smart-phone apps or hand-held GPS, producing maps for reports or for display on the web.

A one-day workshop can only introduce you to GIS. Nevertheless, participants should leave with a feeling of confidence in their ability to use QGIS and explore its capabilities.

This course does not include instruction on using the FSC Tom.bio Productivity Tools plugin for QGIS, but it is suitable preparation for those wishing to attend the course ‘Using QGIS to work with Biological Records’ which does.

Using QGIS to work with Biological Records

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Formerly known as Quantum GIS, QGIS is a freely available open-source Geographic Information System (GIS) of the highest quality. Thanks to a community of dedicated and talented developers and an active and vocal user community, QGIS matches the functionality and usability of commercial products like MapInfo and ArcGIS.

An increasing number of ecologists and biological recorders are using this free GIS software to help them visualise, explore and analyse spatial data.

During this course, participants will find out how to visualise and work with biological records using QGIS. In particular, instruction will be given on using the FSC Tom.bio Productivity Tools plugin for QGIS.

We will cover topics like mapping biological records from spreadsheets, linking to NBN web services to display NBN grid maps in QGIS, styling biological records, downloading raw biological record data from the NBN through QGIS and mapping them, working with OS grid references and grids within QGIS, ‘mashing up’ maps from other sources to display alongside your own biological records.

Participants should leave with an understanding of how to work with biological records within QGIS.

This course is not suitable for QGIS novices. Previous experience of QGIS and an understanding of how to carry out basic operations within QGIS are pre-requisites for this course. If you are a complete novice, consider attending our ‘Introduction to the Fundamentals of QGIS’ course first.

Identifying Solitary Wasps

Friday, July 28, 2017 to Friday, August 4, 2017
FULLY BOOKED

This course will introduce participants to the identification and ecology of solitary wasps including nesting and prey requirements, hosts and associated aculeate nest parasites.

Introduction to the identification of genera and species will be through a combination of presentations, field visits (including Stackpole – an outstanding site for aculeates) and microscope workshops using keys and prepared specimens.

By the end of the course participants should be more confident in identifying the more commonly encountered genera and a number of species.

The major part of the course will focus on identification of specimens down to species. Time will be put aside for those who are less familiar with the group to work through keys to genera before advancing on to species identification. Field visits to a variety of habitats will cover ecology and field identification to genera or species where possible. Narrowing specimens down certainly helps to make later identification a lot easier.

This new course is supported by the FSC Tomorrow’s Biodiversity project, enabling us to offer it to participants at rates representing outstanding value for a residential course of this length.

Participants should leave the course with the confidence to work through the keys understanding the terminology and the features used to successfully identify a number of species. For specimens that are more difficult knowing where to go for help will enable individuals to progress with the group.

Field ID of Spiders and Harvestmen

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bishop's Wood, Worcestershire

Many spiders and harvestmen can be identified and recorded in the field, with the aid a simple piece of kit called a spi-pot, before being released again. On this course you will be:

  • introduced to spider & harvestman ecology
  • shown how to identify distinctive species and groups
  • shown how to use a spi-pot to look closely at living specimens
  • practice identification techniques
  • shown how to get help with identification and all things spidery
  • introduced to submitting spider & harvestmen records

There will be classroom sessions and practice at identifying spiders and harvestmen in the field. We will collect live spiders and harvestmen around the grounds of Bishops Wood and bring them back into the classroom for a closer look, before releasing them again.

This course is offered at a reduced rate of £30 thanks to support from the FSC Tomorrow's Biodiversity project.

A Holisitc and Practical Introduction to QGIS

Monday, August 21, 2017 to Wednesday, August 23, 2017

QGIS is a freely available open-source Geographic Information System (GIS) that matches the functionality and usability of commercial products like MapInfo and ArcGIS. It has been adopted by governments, businesses and NGOs around the world. The course is suitable for beginners to GIS, those looking to refresh their skills or those looking to migrate to QGIS software. It will help ecological consultants, wildlife organisations, biological recorders and recent graduates to visualise, explore and analyse spatial data. The course will take a holistic approach to ensure participants have the skills needed to confidently implement GIS projects in the workplace. General topics will include GIS fundamentals, data licencing, map design, spatial data management and work-flow design.

Matt Davies is a professional ecologist and geographer with 20 years’ experience in the UK environment sector. He began his career at JNCC, providing GIS and database support on marine and coastal projects. He then worked at the capital’s Environmental Record Centre, GiGL, where he managed a multi-disciplinary team that supported volunteer, community and wildlife recording groups and integrated their data into government decision making and the operational delivery of transport companies and emergency services. In 2015, he founded the geo-spatial consultancy Maplango to help people collect, analyse and visualise spatial data so they can make better informed decisions.

Spider ID with Microscopes

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Preston Montford, Shropshire

There are over 670 different species of spiders in the Britain and at least 500 of these can only be reliably identified by looking a specimens under the microscope. This course is aimed at introducing people to the techniques of identifying British spiders under the microscope. It is an entirely lab-based day and you will be working with specimens provided by your tutors.

This one day course is offered at a reduced rate of £30 thanks to support from the FSC Tomorrow's Biodiversity project.

Harvestmen - Ecology and Identification

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Preston Montford, Shropshire

In this introduction to the identification of UK harvestmen and thier ecology you will learn how to use identification resources, in particular, the highly regarded FSC fold-out chart (authored by Paul Richards – your tutor). There will be a discussion of the finer points of field identification illustrated by some of Paul’s unrivalled collection of photographs (plus some live specimens) and a field session to collect and identify harvestmen.

This course is offered at a reduced rate of £30 thanks to support from the FSC Tomorrow's Biodiversity project.

Centipedes and Millipedes

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
NEW!

Preston Montford, Shropshire

In this introduction to the identification of UK centipedes & millipedes you will learn the techniques of identification for the frequently met, but usually ignored creatures. Learn about their fascinating ecology and diversity here in the UK.

This course is offered at a reduced rate of £30 thanks to support from the FSC Tomorrow's Biodiversity project.