This beginner fungi identification course will introduce you to spore printing as an aid to identifying fungi to genus using a variety of keys.

This course will introduce you to the world of spore printing and its potential to reveal diagnostic features that will help you identify fungi to genus using a range of written, digital and online keys. You will also touch upon fungi classification and macro characters, building your fungi identification skills in the presence of your expert tutor.

This course will include:

  • An introduction to spore printing
  • How to use a range of keys to identify to genus
  • Brief introduction to classification and macro-characteristics

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This is the perfect course for beginners looking to further their fungi identification skills by looking more closely at the characteristics needed to start using keys. This course is a great accompaniment to our ‘Autumn Fungi: An Introduction’ course which covers key identification features of fungi in greater depth. Using commonly encountered groups of fungi the course will focus on spore printing as a technique in the identification process. The course will introduce you to different types of keys and how to use them to identify a species to genus including written, digital and online. You will also gain an understanding of the importance of these species for ecology, conservation, and recording.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Create spore prints from different fungi species and use them to aid ID.
  • Understand how to get started with a key, become familiar with different types of keys, and gain experience in using a basic key to genus.
  • Understand non-taxonomic and taxonomic classifications, why classification systems are important and subject to change.
  • Explain the key morphological features that distinguish agarics, boletes and tooth fungi, how to collect them for identification and explain how to use these features for ID to genus level in agarics.
  • Share this knowledge with friends, family, and fellow volunteers.

Who Should Attend? – Nature enthusiasts, students, rangers, early career consultants and ecologists.

Knowledge Level – Beginner. Level descriptors can be found on the following web-page: Framework and Course Level Descriptors

Prior Knowledge – No existing knowledge or experience is needed for this course, although attending our ‘Practical Fungi Field Skills‘ course prior to this would be beneficial.

PLEASE NOTE: There is no accommodation or meal facilities included in the course price. Refreshments (tea and coffee) will be available. If we are unable to reach viable numbers for this course, we will inform you of the course cancellation 4-5 weeks prior to the course run. We would recommend when purchasing accommodation and/or travel you should take out your own insurance.

Bookings will close if course capacity is reached.

Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

About the Tutor

Chris Knowles

Chris is both an ecologist and a consultant field mycologist, carrying out fungus surveys for a variety of clients. He is also an active member of his local fungus group and the recorder for Edinburgh & Lothians.

Example Timetable

Timings for this course may vary, so please check the start and end times for the course runs below. Please arrive in time for the course to start promptly.

This course will involve both classroom learning and field excursions to cover all of the learning objectives.

Lunch is not included so please bring your own food. Refreshments (tea and coffee) will be provided.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition

The course has been carefully created by expert tutors and educators to help you build your knowledge and apply it within the field surrounded by like-minded individuals.

The course includes:

  • Classroom learning covering the theory of the species
  • Field excursions to apply new knowledge
  • Expert tuition for which the Field Studies Council is renowned
  • Clear objectives and progression
  • Refreshments (tea and coffee)

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be provided. In choosing a Field Studies Council course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.

Bursaries and Subsidies

Student Discount

This course is eligible for a student discount. If you are a current student, please use discount code BioStudent20 at checkout for 20% off all Biodiversity courses.

Natural History Bursaries

There are a number of natural history bursaries available to help with the cost of your course. To find out if you and your chosen course are eligible, read more here.

Before You Attend

What to Bring

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Lunch and refreshments
  • Sensible footwear and clothing for being outdoors
  • Small bag to carry personal items

If you have them:

  • x10 hand lens
  • Penknife

Recommended Literature

The guides below are not essential, but have been suggested by the tutor to accompany this course. When you book this course, you will receive a discount code for the Field Studies Council recommended guides below.

There will be a member of staff with first aid training and access to a first aid kit on site. If you have special medical or access requirements, please let us know as soon as possible so we can plan the course.

Opportunities to attend this course

  • Sat 21, September 2024 10:00 - 17:00

    Directions for Castlemilk Stables can be found here. The course Autumn Fungi: an introduction is a great accompaniment to this course and is also scheduled to be held at Castlemilk Stables before this course, on 15th September 2024. Book your place here if you would like to extend your learning journey. The venue is unable to offer accommodation with this course, please book local accommodation if you require overnight stays and ensure you take out the appropriate insurance.

    Castlemilk Stables, 59 Machrie Road, Castlemilk, Glasgow, Scotland, G45 0AZ
    Chris Knowles

No current dates for this course? Click here to view all the upcoming Natural History courses.

Progress Your Learning

This is a training course from the Field Studies Council, delivered by expert tutors with an approachable learning style. After attending this course, you may like to progress your learning with further relevant courses or branch out into other areas of natural history. The Field Studies Council offers both online and in-person courses, so you can choose the learning style that suits you best.

The course gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new subject and acquire novel skills. Our online portal gives you time to study at your own pace and fit the lessons around your own schedule.

If you have any questions about our courses please check our Frequently Asked Questions or email [email protected] if you have any questions.

Group Bookings Made Easy

If you have a group of 10 or more individuals wanting to complete one of our courses, our team are available to discuss your options – from discounts to private team courses. Find out more!

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be at your fingertips. In choosing a Field Studies Council course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.