FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

Introducing Lichens (Greenwich Park)


This course is now historical and therefore no bookings can be taken. Explore our current programme of courses here

Course Details

Lichens are remarkable, often beautiful and they can be found in a vast range of locations. In this course based in London's Greenwich Park, we will be looking at the basic structure of lichens, concentrating on the main features used in identification. We will have an introduction to the issues of pollution that impact on lichens and their rapidly changing fortunes in London and what this tells us. We will be going outside to look at lichens in the field and learn some common species, concentrating on those that grow on trees. Back in the classroom, we will identify some common lichens using a simple key. You should, at the end of the course, feel able to use basic identification guides with some confidence and be able to identify some of the commoner lichens. 

Our Natural History and Exploring Nature and the Arts courses are aimed at those aged 18 and above. If you are interested in one of our courses but are under 18 at the time of the course beginning please contact the Centre hosting the course prior to booking to discuss the content and its suitability.

About the tutor:

Joe Beale is a London-based naturalist and an experienced tutor. He organises lichen surveys in London and worked on the lichen collection at the Natural History Museum while on the Identification Trainers for the Future programme. Joe has extensive experience of recording wildlife and plants in London’s parks and contributes regularly to publications such as the London Naturalist and the London Bird Report. He is passionate about the fascinating biodiversity of London’s green spaces and communicating this richness to others.


  • 09.45 Participants arrive, registration, introductions
  • 10.00 Introductory presentation, including an overview of pollution and lichens and their changing fortunes in London and lichens within ecosystems
  • 10.45 Prepare for fieldwork – brief discussion about purpose of and techniques of fieldwork
  • 11.00 Walk in the Park to examine lichens, mainly on trees and learn some common species.
  • 13.30 Lunch back at the Classroom
  • 14.30 classroom session
  • 16.00 Closing presentation including recommendations for further study, summary and questions
  • 16.30 Course ends

All timings are approximate. This is an outline programme and may be subject to change according to the weather, requirements of the group or access restrictions to field sites on the day of the course.

What to bring:

  • Lunch and plenty to drink
  • Suitable clothing & footwear, waterproofs or sun cream as appropriate!
  • Notebook and pencil
  • Small bag to carry personal items

If you have them:

  • Your favourite botany field guide
  • a hand lens

Health and Safety & Accessibility

  • 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 requirements please let us know as soon as possible so we can plan the course.
  • Our courses include some classroom sessions but field visits may be a few hours long and involve walking over uneven ground

Meeting point / Location

The Wildlife Centre, Blackheath Gate, Greenwich Park.

FSC in Greenwich Park

FSC has been working in partnership with The Royal Parks to deliver courses since 2011. In Greenwich Park, our education Centre has one classroom, toilet facilities, a small kitchen and office space. Alongside this is a small area of the Park for education use, not usually open to members of the public, with a small woodland areas, nature trail and two ponds. Most of our courses use sites across the Park allowing you to experience the diversity of habitats in this stunning Park. Greenwich Park hosts the Prime Meridian Line and Royal Observatory as well as being part of the Greenwich Maritime World Heritage Site which is home to The National Maritime Museum and Old Royal Naval College. The most historic of all Royal Parks, Greenwich Park dates back to Roman times and was enclosed in 1433. From the statue of General Wolfe the park offers imperious views across the River Thames all the way to St. Pauls Cathedral.

This course is now historical and therefore no bookings can be taken.

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