Previous events

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.

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.

Open lab/invertebrate collections day

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

An informal day for the Shropshire Invetebrate Group (and friends) to work on their invertebrate ID skills, and/or catalogue and maintain the Preston Montford invertebrate collections. A classroom and microscopes will be available, with support (although no formal teaching) from FSC Biodiversity staff.

All are welcome anytime between 10am and 4pm. Please email Charlie Bell if you think you might come along.

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.

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.

Soil Mesofauna

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

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.

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.

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 (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.

Open lab/invertebrate collections day

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

An informal day for the Shropshire Invertebrate Group (and friends) to work on their invertebrate ID skills, and/or catalogue and maintain the Preston Montford invertebrate collections. A classroom and microscopes will be available, with support (although no formal teaching) from FSC Biodiversity staff.

All are welcome anytime between 10am and 4pm. Please email Charlie Bell if you think you might come along.

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.

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.

QGIS for ecologists and biological recorders

Friday, February 17, 2017 to Monday, February 20, 2017
FULLY BOOKED
An increasing number of ecologists and biological recorders are using QGIS software to help them visualise, explore and analyse their spatial data. During this course, participants will be introduced to the fundamental concepts of GIS and using QGIS as a tool to explore biological records and ecological data. This is a residential course running over four days. The course is accredited by Manchester Metropolitan University and can count towards their post-graduate biological recording programme.

Introduction to Biological Recording

Friday, February 10, 2017 to Sunday, February 12, 2017
CANCELLED

UNFORTUATELY THIS COURSE IS NOW CANCELLED

This course is aimed at the naturalist who wants to become more involved in biological recording. We will help you navigate the sometimes confusing world of UK biological recording! Through a mixture of formal and informal teaching and field sessions, including a session on winter tree identification, this course will leave you with an understanding of UK biological recording and able to start/continue contributing valuable records yourself using the iRecord recording website.

No experience required! You can attend this course whatever your level of experience as a naturalist. We cater for those completely new to the world of natural history and biological recording through to those with experience as naturalists who want to take the next steps into recording their observations.

This two-night residential course is offered at an outstanding reduced rate of £120 thanks to support from the FSC Tomorrow's Biodiversity project.

Creating computer-based ID visualisations and keys

Saturday, January 28, 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 key testing workshop

Tuesday, January 24, 2017
FULLY BOOKED

Preston Montford, Shropshire

Earthworm expert (and Earthworm Society of Britain President) Emma Sherlock is in the process of updating the current FSC Key to the Identification of Earthworms of the UK & Ireland (published by The Field Studies Council). The second edition will contain live photos of earthworms, updated taxonomy and a key to some of the non-native earthworm species that have been found in British greenhouses and botanical gardens.

At this event the Earthworm Society of Britain (ESB) will be testing a draft of the second edition at a free workshop at FSC Preston Montford, Shropshire. 

The workshop will be lead by the author of the key, Emma Sherlock, and the ESB recording officer, Keiron Derek Brown. The workshop will run from 11:00 to 16:00 and provide a unique opportunity to be involved in the testing and development of an identification key.

We would like a mix of abilities, so both experienced earthworm recorders and those new to earthworm identification are welcome. Places are limited and must be booked in advance by contacting Keiron Brown.

Please note that the workshop will involve the use of ethanol and the preserved specimens. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own specimens, though any live specimens will need to be preserved on the day.

THESE COURSES ARE NOW FULLY SUBSCRIBED BUT YOU CAN STILL CONTACT KEIRON TO RESERVE A SPACE IN THE CASE OF ANY DROP-OUTS.

Shropshire Ento Day 2016

Sunday, December 11, 2016
PAST COURSES

Ento Day 2016 is the 7th annual Shropshire Entomology Day. We are hosted by Preston Montford Field Centre (Field Studies Council). The programme for the day is yet to be finalised but there will be a similar mix of presentations to the 2015 event which covered, for example, dragonflies, springtails, Rothamsted traps, multi-access keys, ecology of Small Nettle, biological control and much more.

Attendees are free to bring displays, specimens, photographs, posters – in fact anything invertebrate related that you think may be of interest to others. The Invert Challenge Library and collections will be available to peruse.

The event is subsidised by the FSC Tomorrow's Biodiversity Project enabling us to halve the true cost to attendees. The £5 attendance fee includes tea & coffee, lunch and afternoon cake. 

Registration and coffee from 10 am for a 10:30 am start. The event will conclude by 4 pm.

A holistic and practical introduction to QGIS (Slapton Ley, Devon)

Monday, November 21, 2016 to Wednesday, November 23, 2016

In response to demand, generated through the FSC Tomorrow's Biodiversity QGIS courses, FSC is expanding its capacity to deliver QGIS training through a new partnership with Matt Davies. Matt Davies is a professional ecologist and geographer with 20 years’ experience in the UK environment sector, spending time at JNCC and London's Environmental Record Centre, GiGL. 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. Matt will be running two residential QGIS courses courses for FSC in 2016 including this one at Slapton Ley.

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. A series of practical exercises will give participants hands-on experience and build confidence working with raster and vector data.

A holistic and practical introduction to QGIS (Juniper Hall, Surrey)

Friday, November 18, 2016 to Sunday, November 20, 2016
FULLY BOOKED

In response to demand, generated through the FSC Tomorrow's Biodiversity QGIS courses, FSC is expanding its capacity to deliver QGIS training through a new partnership with Matt Davies. Matt Davies is a professional ecologist and geographer with 20 years’ experience in the UK environment sector, spending time at JNCC and London's Environmental Record Centre, GiGL. 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.

Matt will be running two residential QGIS courses courses for FSC in 2016 including this one at Juniper Hall. 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. A series of practical exercises will give participants hands-on experience and build confidence working with raster and vector data.

Springtails ID peer-mentoring workshop

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

An informal 'lab day' at Preston Montford where anyone is welcome to try their hand, or improve their skills, at identifying springtails. It would be great to get a bit more help with the identification of sprintails towards the Shropshire Springtail Atlas. If you'd like to come along, contact Charlie or Rich by email. There's no charge for the day, just bring a packed lunch. The workshop will be open between 10 am and 4 pm and you can come and go as you like.

Using QGIS to work with Biological Records

Thursday, October 27, 2016
FULLY BOOKED

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.

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.

An Introduction to the Fundamentals of QGIS

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
FULLY BOOKED

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.

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.

Shropshire Spider Group 'lab' day

Sunday, October 2, 2016

This is a day for which we have organised use of a Preston Montford classroom for members and associates of the Shropshire Spider Group to come along and do some 'communal spidering'. There is no charge for attending this event, but you should email either Nigel or Rich if you are intending to come along.

Spider photography and introductory identification

Friday, September 23, 2016 to Sunday, September 25, 2016

This course combines an extended introduction to spider identification, encompassing both field and microscopic techniques, with a instruction on photographing spiders in the field. The course is run by Lawrence Bee who is authoring a new Wildguide (a photographic field guide) to British spiders, due to be published in 2016, and Alex Hyde, an expert wildlife photographer.

Harvestmen - ecology and identification

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The open nature of this workshop is designed to be suitable both for relative beginners in Harvestman ID and those wishing to take their Harvestman ID and recording to the next level. There will be a chance to try out a new multi-access key developed by Tomorrow’s Biodiversity in association with Paul Richards - author and photographer of the highly regarded FSC fold-out Guide to Harvestmen of the British Isles. The day will inlcude an introduction to the British harvestmen; a discussion of the finer points of ID with the aid of Paul's excellent harvestman photographs; a field session to find and identify harvestmen.

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