This course is fully booked.

Interested in Natural History and wanting to make your wildlife observations count? Then you need to understand ‘Biological Recording’ and how it can be a useful tool for conservation and ecological planning. Biological Recording is the foundation on which all scientific data collected by amateur and professional natural historians around the world is formatted and shared. From moth trapping in your back garden to countryside scale land surveys of habitats, natural historians from all levels of expertise and interest areas can contribute to recording schemes. Through a mixture of lectures, practical workshops, and outdoor surveying you will come to understand the science behind recording our Natural History.

Areas covered include

  • What goes into a record?
  • Why make biological records?
  • Using grid references and site hierarchies
  • How to use a GPS
  • Designing a good biological recording survey
  • Who’s who in biological recording
  • Validation and vice counties
  • Historical records
  • Confidentiality and status
  • Record schemes and record flow
  • Computers in biological recording
  • Over the weekend you will be expected to undertake a survey of a particular group or habitat on site at Preston Montford, either individually or as part of a group.

Past examples have included

  • Distribution of Lesser Celandine and its subspecies at Preston Montford.
  • Small mammal survey (using Longworth traps)
  • Bat survey
  • Songbird Survey
  • Survey of non-native invasive plant species.
  • Does Preston Rough qualify as an Ancient Woodland site?

This is a chance for you to develop natural history identification skills you already have, and undertake a survey.

This course is ideal for amateur (unpaid) or professional Natural Historians, Ecologists and Biologists, wanting to understand how they can improve their own recording, collect good field data and submit them to a recording scheme and potentially influence management and planning decisions.

It is the core unit on the Field Studies Council Certificate in Biological Recording.

Tutor: Mark Duffell

Mark Duffell has had a lifetime interest in plants, gaining the RHS Diploma in Horticulture and completing an MSc in Biological Recording. He now runs Arvensis Ecology, splitting his time between conducting botanical surveys and teaching botanical identification and survey techniques to undergraduate and postgraduate students, consultancies and environmental organisations.
Biological Recorders in the field

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Full Board Accommodation
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • In Course Transport

Before You Attend

What to Bring
There will be some excursions out into the grounds of Preston Montford, so we do advise you to bring warm, waterproof outdoor clothing with you as well as stout walking shoes or boots but most of the course takes place indoors. Packed lunches are provided every day, so do please remember to bring a sandwich box and vacuum flask

  • Sandwich box, vacuum flask / drinks container
  • Small rucksack or bag
  • Field notebook and pencil
  • x10 or x20 hand lens, binoculars if you possess them.
  • Any field guides that you regularly use e.g. Floras, ID Guides.

Recommended Reading

  • Hill, D., Fasham, M., Tucker, G., Shewry, M. and Shaw, P. 2005. Handbook of Biodiversity Methods: Survey, Evaluation and Monitoring. Cambridge University Press. This is a useful book if you can access it.

There will be books available to use over the weekend.

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