Our natural history courses are suitable for consultant ecologists, land managers and conservationists and certificates of attendance for CPD are available. Likewise, these courses are suitable for undergraduate and postgraduate students wishing to work towards a career in the ecology/conservation sector. With help from our network of expert tutors, we run a range of courses suitable for all experience/career levels, from day to week-long residential to Masters courses. Our courses cover the following subjects:

MSc in Biological Recording and Ecological Monitoring

You may notice that many of our courses are accredited by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). This is because, in association with MMU and the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, we run a Masters in Biological Recording and Ecological Monitoring. Biological recording is vital for biodiversity conservation. This is a part-time, largely field based course which focusses on developing your identification and surveying skills. Most of the teaching is done over a series of weekends at our centres around the UK to allow students to work and study at the same time. This highly practical course also offers a large range of optional modules allowing you to specialise depending on your interests. More information can be found here: https://www2.mmu.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/course/msc-biological-recording.  Please note: you can attend these accredited courses even if you’re not on the Masters.

Land Mammals, including Bats and Dormice

We run a range of protected species training courses across the UK, including several bat survey training courses. These focus on bat identification, bat ecology, bat survey techniques, and how to use bat detectors. Likewise, we run dormice ecology, conservation and survey training courses, to help those wishing to work towards a dormouse licence. With the FSC you can also learn how to identify land mammals by sight, tracks, signs, and other remains.

Reptiles and Amphibians, including Great Crested Newts

For those wishing to carry out reptile and amphibian surveys and for those who would just like to know more about them, we run various reptile and amphibian courses covering their ecology, identification and survey techniques. We also run a number of courses focused on Great Crested Newt identification, ecology, surveying, mitigation techniques, legislation and how to work towards obtaining a Great Crested Newt licence.


We run regular bird identification in all seasons of the year. Our courses range from day courses for anyone new to bird identification to more in-depth weekend courses, covering identification by birdsong and bird survey techniques.


Having a large network of botany tutors means we have an extensive range of plant identification courses which cater to a range of levels. Our courses range from “Botany for Beginners” to the advanced “Identification of Difficult Plants”. We also run courses specifically for field surveyors including aquatic plant identification and indicator species for NVC and Phase 1 surveys. We also run a distance learning online ‘IdentiPlant’ course which is completed between February and August each year.

Habitats and Conservation 

As well as wildlife, we have a range of courses focusing on habitat ecology, habitat management, conservation and site assessment/survey techniques, including NVC and Phase 1 surveys.


QGIS is free, open source GIS software which is increasingly being used be ecologists and conservationists. Our QGIS courses cover everything from the very basics of how to download and open GIS to mapping biological records, managing spatial data and producing professional habitat maps for reports.

Other wildlife identification and surveying courses

From freshwater invertebrates, to fungi, to marine mammals, we have a massive range of wildlife courses to help people improve their identification and surveying skills. Please see our course list to see all of the taxa we cover in our natural history courses:

Please note, absolutely everyone is welcome on these courses so you don’t have to be working or working towards a career in ecology or conservation to come along to any of our courses. We welcome anyone that has an interest in the natural world.