This beginner course is designed to be a gentle introduction to freshwater invertebrate identification for those who have limited or no experience. We will use hand lenses, microscopes and identification keys to look at what makes a mayfly a mayfly, and how to tell apart the larvae of beetles and flies. Our expert tutor will guide you through a combination of classroom and field sessions to build up your knowledge, skills and confidence.

This course will include:

  • Experience in using keys and identifying freshwater invertebrates to family level. 
  • Experience pond dipping.
  • Experience using a hand lens and microscope.

Read More

By the end of the course, you will have: 

  •  An overview of the major groups of freshwater invertebrates in the UK.
  • An introduction to using and understanding identification keys.
  • A beginners guide to setting up and using microscopes to view freshwater invertebrates.
  • Practical experience of using the Field Studies Council AIDGAP ‘Key to the major groups of British freshwater invertebrates‘ to identify invertebrates to order level using external morphological features.

Who Should Attend? – Nature enthusiasts, students, rangers, early career consultants and ecologists. This beginner course is suitable for anyone with an interest in freshwater habitats and invertebrates.

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, just a willingness to explore and learn. No microscope or invertebrate identification experience is necessary – this course is designed for absolute beginners!

PLEASE NOTE: There is no accommodation or meal facilities provided with this course. 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

Rachel Davies

Rachel first became interested in invertebrates whilst working on a dragonfly reintroduction project in Cheshire. She later went on to work with mosquitoes for scientific research at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and then moved to the Field Studies Council to work on the BioLinks project as the West Midlands Project Officer. She currently works for the Freshwater Biological Association.

In her spare time, she is an active biological recorder with a fondness for leeches.

Example Timetable

Example Timetable

10:00- 10.30 Presentation in the classroom.
10.30- 10.45 Coffee break
10.45- 12:00 Hand lens session in the classroom
12:00- 13:00 Lunch break (lunch is not included)
13:00-15:00 Field session using hand lenses
15:00- 16:30 Microscope session in class
16:30- 17:00 Follow up and any questions.

Please note: timings may change depending on the weather and the group.

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 topic
  • Field excursions to apply new knowledge
  • Expert tuition for which the Field Studies Council is renowned
  • Clear objectives and progression
  • Refreshments (tea/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
  • A hand lens if you have one

Recommended Literature

There will be copies of these publications available for use during the course, but you may wish to have your own. When you book this course, you will receive a discount code for the Field Studies Council recommended guide 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

    If you would like to book accommodation and meals at Rhyd-y-creuau, please email [email protected]. Please note the Centre may not be able to guarantee accommodation and meals during this course.

    Rachel Davies

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 out our Frequently Asked Questions or email [email protected].

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.