Welcome the official start of phase 4, welcome planning for nature live and frosty mornings. Welcome December.
This month we have well and truly been getting our teeth stuck into phase 4; commencing with the official completion of the EAT teaching course (hosted at the wonderful FSC Blencathra centre, see below) in the form of finished assignments, four of them to be precise.
Phase 4 is all about the transference of the vast skill set we’ve built in the previous phases, the name of the game is teaching. We’ve been fortunate enough to attend some fantastic workshops this month including the NBN data workshop (vol. II) and the NHM volunteer management course hosted by the brilliant Ali Thomas!
In a throwback to phase 2, the workshop phase, we were invited to join a day-long winter tree identification workshop courtesy of The Species Recovery Trust. Dom brought an array of twigs with him and distributed them across the participants; we identified them as a class in preparation for what will hence forth be known as the great twig quiz of ’17. While some twigs were instantly recognisable, such as Ash with distinctive, opposite large black buds others were less familiar and required closer inspection.
Dippy on Tour! In the New Year our beloved Dippy will begin his cross country marathon visiting the likes of Dorset County Museum and Norwich Cathedral. Complementary to Dippy’s excursion visitors will be encouraged to take part in a variety of science related challenges including pitfall trapping and moss painting – full list to be published online.
We also visited the brilliant Hampshire Natural Sciences Collection curated by Christine Taylor. A highlight here was looking at the extensive UK bird egg collection. Steph immersed herself in the Cantharid drawers while April got better acquainted with the extensive lichen collection. Later in the day Hampshire county council gave an insightful talk regarding ecological planning and their management of various schemes.
Alongside these exciting excursions we have been planning our final projects. Steph is busily working analysing her Cantharid data from the NHM British collection and preparing her workshop which will be offered freely to participants (on a first come first served basis) in the coming months. Matt has already taught a group of undergraduate students the basics in entomological recording in the field and is rearing Sciomyzid flies from snails to look at the species assemblage in the Gower. April is producing an entry level guide to lichens of the UK `and has been imaging specimens to use as reference images. Alex takes to the stage once more, this time in front of a camera, looking at Bryophytes in the temperate rainforests of Wales. Behind the camera I am imaging Ephemeroptera characteristics to include in the multi-access key of the mayfly families in the UK.
Next up is January in which we will attend a multitude of workshops including an intensive two day molecular lab training course.