It has been a fantastic year for the five of us on the ‘Identification Trainers for the Future’ programme.
We were fully immersed in working at The Natural History Museum, undertaking a variety of tasks as well as workshops taught by the wonderful team of curators here. We were all then provided the opportunity to do a curation placement here at the museum, following our personal interests. I worked on the slime mould collection with Dr. Holger Thüs and really loved getting to know this obscure group.
The fourth and final phase of the traineeship we spent learning more about different teaching and engagement methods to educate and inspire a range of different groups. The Learning Volunteers and Science educators took great care of us and taught us so much about how to encourage people to interact and engage with specimens, building confidence and pursuing personal interests. We all felt much more confident in getting out there and promoting education about UK wildlife after phase 4. The EAT course, Train the Trainer workshop and our chance to run our own workshop at Gilbert Whites House on starting your own entomology collection complemented our placement with the Learning Volunteers and Science Educators, pulling together different techniques and education scenarios.
Now that we are into our final week it is time to figure out the next step for our final projects and organise our collection of specimens from throughout the year. This year, life as a trainee has been dynamic and fascinating, constantly learning something new. The Museum is a fantastic place to study, and there is always an interesting object to find in random cupboards and drawers. We have been overwhelmed with the support and kindness shown to us by colleagues at the Museum and within our partnership organisations. The data management workshops provided by Rachel Stroud with the NBN have been invaluable throughout the traineeship and the NBN Conference was a great way to catch up with people we hadn’t seen since the beginning of the traineeship, as well as to meet some new, friendly faces. Our regular visits to FSC centres where we were warmly welcomed were fabulous settings to learn about outdoor education and practice our identification skills in various UK locations.
We are all so grateful and happy looking over the last year of experiences with the traineeship. We couldn’t have asked for more and couldn’t have fit any more in if we tried! It is now time say thank you and farewell, for now, to everyone who has supported us throughout the traineeship, as well as best wishes to the new trainees who we are sure will enjoy their year here as much as we have.
Written by Sophie Trice, ID Trainer for the Future