Monday, 3 April 2017

Easy fun holidays to gain naturalists' skills

Have you ever passed Malham Tarn Field Centre and wondered what goes on? 

Have you a secret desire to become a better naturalist - whether its learning how to identify the flowers you see on your walks, or the fascinating creatures that live in streams, which help scientists determine pollution levels? 

Would you like to become an expert in identifying:
Flowers, Sedges, Grasses, Bees, Adult Caddisflies, Stoneflies and Mayflies,  Marine Mammals, Bees, Seaweeds, Fungi, Mosses....

What a choice!!

Have you heard of the Field Studies Council? 
It is a group of 17 Field Centres, 14 of which are residential like Malham, scattered though England Wales, Scotland and N Ireland. 
They run courses for naturalists and geographers and holiday-makers and families. 

Well this weekend 31 March -2 April there were two courses:

The was a First Aid Course and Risk Assessment Course for nine FSC visiting Tutors. I attended this.

THe second was an OU Environmental Science course - on Hydrology and Meteorology in the Field  I went in one evening to see what they were doing.  They were working out how water was flowing across the Peat Bog - and used Pigotts's Paper to help them. Donald and Margaret Pigott had carried out research on Pollen Analysis and made sections through the Peat Bog.

As a resut of our chat, the adult students discovered you can do all sorts of different courses at Field Centres, from a day to a week long, some of which help people to become much better at identifying different groups of organisms.

And some of the students on the  OU course wished they could become better at identifying the plants and animals they were finding.

As an example of what goes on in different centres, I now list the courses that we (the First Aid Students) would be teaching later in the year:

Judith teaches a long weekend course on Limestone Flowers at Malham and later one on Sedge Identification.
She is running a weekend on Identifying Grasses using Vegetative Features to be held at Juniper Hall (near Box Hill, near Dorking) the last weekend of April. And you can spend a whole week at Kindrogan Field Centre near Pitlochry in July  with her on a Grasses Course. “We see lots of wild flowers too and lots of beautiful scenery” she says…

Also on the course were Peter and Sharon Flint who run two courses at Malham: one on Identifying Adult Caddis, Stoneflies and Mayflies, and one on Freshwater Invertebrates.

And Julia Pigott and Martin Hoggard who run a course on bee keeping at Flatford Mill Field Centre

And June Chatfield who is running a course on Land Snail Identification at Juniper Hall, one on Beginners Fungi at Margam discovery Centre, South Wales, and others on Mosses, and Beachcombing there too.

Jane Pottas is running a course on Introduction to Seaweeds at Millport in Scotland.

 Dominic McCafferty is running a course on Marine Wildlife (especially Mammals) and using I-Record - at Millport FIeld Centre on the island of Great Cumbrae 36 miles west of Glasgow.

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