Want to have some time to look at specimens? Need access to some ID resources you don’t have? Need access to a microscope? Or simply looking for an opportunity to brush up on some fundamental entomological skills? This day is for you.

Identifying and recording invertebrates often involves the use of microscopes and identification books and keys, acquiring these can cost a lot of money. Our Invertebrate Volunteer ID Days are opportunities for people to come to our centres to use our lab facilities, microscopes, identification guides and other resources. They are free to attend (though booking is essential).

A range of people come on these days, they are perfect for beginners to practice their ID skills but those more experienced also come along to meet up, work on collections and make use of our resources. They’re a great way to meet other recorders and learn new skills. An FSC BioLinks project staff member will also be on-hand to provide support and guidance (please note: you’ll have access to our tea and coffee making facilities but please bring your own lunch and any other refreshments you may require!).

We encourage volunteers to bring their own specimens to work on. However, if you’re looking for volunteer projects to work on we also need help with the following tasks:

  • Identifying woodlice specimens from a Buglife pitfall trapping project
  • Sorting and/or identifying mixed terrestrial insect samples from our Field Recorder Day events
  • Carding, pinning and setting specimens that have been identified by other volunteers
  • Helping us produce our beetle teaching collection and educational collection resources

What do I get?

    • Access to our entomological library
    • Access to a stereomicroscope
    • A chance to meet fellow minded people from a range of different disciplines
    • Practical entomological experience
    • Support and guidance from a member of the FSC BioLinks project team

It’s free to join in, however, you must be at least 18 years of age and study space is limited so booking is essential.

It’s also worth emailing us at [email protected] if you require a particular resource to ensure we have it beforehand!   

You’ll have access to our tea and coffee making facilities but please bring your own lunch and any other refreshments you may require!

Please note that Volunteer ID Days will involve using specimens that have been killed and preserved.

Tutor: Gino Brignoli

Gino is an active invertebrate recorder in London’s green spaces, with a particular interest in the ecologies of urban insects.

He has worked as a freelance field surveyor on behalf of the Forestry Commission; researched ant ecology and evolution, and taught entomology field techniques whilst employed as a Research Assistant at Queen Mary University of London. With a keen interest in ecology and entomology, Gino studied an MSc in Ecology and Evolution from Queen Mary and a BSc in Biodiversity and Conservation from Birkbeck College, University of London.

He has also previously volunteered with the Lepidoptera department and Soil Biodiversity Group at the Natural History Museum, and on the Thorn to Orchid and Water for Wildlife projects with the London Wildlife Trust. He now coordinates the BioLinks courses in London.

Tutor: Keiron Brown

Keiron Derek Brown first became interested in invertebrates during a field-based entomology module at university and went on to volunteer on soil biodiversity research projects at the Natural History Museum (London). This included sorting samples of invertebrates to order level and sampling invertebrates across the New Forest in Hampshire and the Malaysian rainforests of Borneo.

In his spare time, he is the national recorder for earthworms (running the National Earthworm Recording Scheme on behalf of the Earthworm Society of Britain) and the Chair of the Ecology & Entomology section of the London Natural History Society. Keiron now manages the FSC BioLinks project, with the aim of inspiring amateur naturalists to take up the identification and recording of invertebrate groups that are often forgotten and rarely recorded. The courses Keiron teaches include Discovering iRecord, Identifying Terrestrial Invertebrates with Microscopes and our various earthworm courses.

Covid Measures

In order to keep our customers and staff safe we ask that anyone attending our centres:

  • wears a face covering when in shared indoor space (unless exempt).
  • maintains social distancing.
  • cleans their hands regularly.
  • takes a Covid-19 test before they arrive.

Example Timetable

  • Please arrive in time for the course to start promptly at 10:00 am.
  • Refreshments will be available from 9.45 am.
  • Access will end at 4:00 pm.

What's Included

  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • Access to our entomological library
  • Access to a stereomicroscope
  • A chance to meet fellow minded people from a range of different disciplines
  • Practical entomological experience
  • Support and guidance from a member of the FSC BioLinks project team

Bursaries and Subsidies

FSC BioLinks

FSC BioLinks is an exciting project for FSC in the South East and West Midlands, bringing together existing volunteers with skills in biological recording and identification, and new volunteers.

This project provides subsidised training courses, learning opportunities and digital tools focussed on invertebrate identification for anyone involved or interested in biological recording, to build and strengthen the community.

Invertebrates provide us with many useful ecosystem services, like pollination and decomposition, which we cannot survive without but their numbers are declining. Few people know how to identify or record invertebrates meaning there is a lack of data

We are delighted to have been awarded a grant of £1.23 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for this project.

Before You Attend

Getting to FSC London: Bushy Park

FSC London: Bushy Park, c/o The Royal Parks, The Stockyard, Bushy Park, London

FSC work in the Stockyard Education Centre (TW12 2EJ), on Hampton Court Road. It is within the Park offices complex and is a working stockyard, with large vehicle movements throughout the day. A map of the Park can be found on The Royal Parks Website which shows the Park offices, and The Stockyard Education Centre is marked on the downloadable map.

  • By Train: The nearest stations are Hampton Court or Hampton station, both about a 20 min walk from the Centre.
  • By Bus: 111 or 216 (from Kingston station) or R68 (from Hampton Court Station), bus stop is Garrick Villa.
  • By Car: Pay and display parking is available in the Park (See The Royal Parks website for details and prices).
  • Due to the outside nature of part of this course, participants are advised to bring suitable clothing and footwear in order to access the Bushy park site in various weather conditions.

When you arrive at The Stockyard gate you may need to call the centre to open the gate. You can reach the staff on site on 020 8941 4398,

What to bring

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Lunch
  • Any study materials including specimens and relevant literature you may have

Please note that this day will involve using specimens that have been killed and preserved.

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.

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