The Growing Confidence project helps young people discover more about wildlife and wild places and have fun learning skills in their local environment. FSC Preston Montford is working in partnership with Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Fordhall Community Land Initiative.

Our events and courses will give you the chance to work with experts to learn more about the wildlife and natural environment of Shropshire and develop specialist skills. If you are interested in wildlife and the natural world then FSC Preston Montford has got lots of activities and courses which will help you increase your knowledge and build your CV to help you stand out from the crowd.

Heritage Lottery Fund and Our Bright Future Logo

The Growing Confidence Project, part of the national Our Bright Future Programme, is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.

Countryside Jobs Service (CJS) has a ‘Focus on Action for Conservation: Our work building the next generation of environmental leaders’ in December 2019. Click on this link to find out about all the amazing activities that are happening around the country involving young people. Our Bright Future and Growing Confidence feature in this publication.

Fordhall Commummity Land Initiative logo

Day events

The Project has a range of environmental day events coming up this year. These will increase your knowledge and skills, you will meet like-minded people and they should be fun! Day events are free to attend and are for ages 15-25 (if you are just under this age and are interested please contact us). Please bring lunch on these days and appropriate clothing for the activities. We can loan waterproofs and wellies if needed.

Transport is available from Shrewsbury.
Please contact us to discuss accommodation (16+) if required. 
Jenni Duffell: [email protected]

Botanical Voyage of Discovery – Visit to Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Saturday 14th March 2020, 9am – 5.30pm, with Mark Duffell.

Plant taken by Mark Duffell
Taken by Mark Duffell

Come and join us on a voyage of discovery. Starting in the humid tropics, were trees drip with exotic climbers and epiphytes, look into a pool surrounded by luxuriant foliage. Feel the temperature drop as you enter the subtropics where towering tree ferns, and birds-of-paradise plants abound, plants that evolved alongside the dinosaurs and carnivorous plants ready for a meal.

Venture beyond into the Mediterranean, see Citrus nestling side by side with Pomegranates, Acacias from Australia perfuming the way, and South African curiosities. Finally enter the hot arid zone, with its host of prickly succulent and cacti from the Americas and Africa. Expect tales of plants discovery, uses, their discoverers, how plants have evolved and how plants interact with animals.

Bird Ringing at Whixall Moss, Shropshire. Saturday 25th April 2020, 8.45am – 1pm, with the Shropshire Bird Ringing Group.

A hand holding a bird taken by Gerry Thomas
Taken by Gerry Thomas

Why do we ring birds? The Shropshire Ringing Group will show you some exciting birds in the hand, many fresh from their migration north from Africa. Find out about the journeys and adventures of some fascinating small birds and how ringing helps us to understand their movements, migrations and life histories. Whixall Moss is a great place to hear and see birds in the spring months.

St Michael's Church in Ford
St Michael’s Church in Ford

Mini Bioblitz at St Michael’s Church, Ford. Saturday 23rd May 2020 9am—5pm, with Mark and Jenni Duffell

Come and join us to assist with surveying the church grounds. We’ll survey mammals, plants, bryophytes, birds and invertebrates including moths and butterflies as much as we can! Bring along any identification equipment or books as well as your knowledge, skills and/or enthusiasm! There will be experts on hand to assist and to learn from as well as plenty of opportunities to get involved in the survey work yourselves. Meet at Preston Montford at 9am.

Residential events

Wild Skills Week – Monday 3rd August – Fri 7th August 2020 at FSC Preston Montford

Immerse yourself in nature! Spend five days on this action packed residential based on land and water. Explore the River Severn by canoe, get closer to wildlife, learn bushcraft, take part in practical conservation tasks, and share stories, songs and games around a campfire. Book here.

Funded places on Preston Monford Natural History courses

For ages 18-25

The Growing Confidence Project is funding one place on the following 2020 Preston Montford Natural History residential courses.

These are great opportunities to increase your knowledge and field skills in a range of subjects.

QGIS7th-10th February 202017th January 2020£120
Biological Recording17th-20th April 20202nd March 2020£120
Birds in the Shropshire Springtime24th-26th April 20202nd March 2020£90
Introduction to Freshwater Invertebrates 24th-26th April 2020 2nd March 2020£90
Soil Mesofauna15th-18th May 20201st April 2020£135
Reptiles and Amphibians 22nd-25th May 2020 1st April 2020£120
Using a Flora28th May-1st June 2020 1st April 2020£120
Identifying Woodland Plants12th-15th June 20204th May 2020£120
Identification of Bats3rd-6th July 202018th May 2020£120
Identification of Dragonflies and Damselflies10th-12th July 2020 18th May 2020£90
Land Mammal Identification28th-31st August 20201st July 2020£120
Monitoring and Surveying for Conservation30th August-6th September 2020 1st July 2020£150

These costs are approximately a third of the full price and are based on residential shared room prices.

The funded places are not offered as part of the MMU MSc/PGCert programmes.

If you are interested in attending any of these, please send a short application letter to Jenni Duffell (details below) including: Your name and age, your interests in the natural environment, how and why you would benefit from this course, why you should be offered the funded place.

To book either a day or residential event (including any accommodation you require), please email Jenni Duffell: [email protected] or call 01743 852040.

Find out about FSC marine science campsgeology camps, summer campsDuke of Edinburgh Gold residentials and Young Darwin Scholarships