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: Dan Asaw

Dan is a keen educator and Coleopterist. He has experience working within education as a teaching assistant and loves the opportunity to share his experiences and knowledge with a range of audiences. Dan's interest in invertebrates started at a young age and as a teenager he was already rearing praying mantids in his bedroom. From there, he began rearing exotic invertebrate disease vectors for scientific research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

In his spare time, he has volunteered integrating UK beetles into the Natural History Museum Collection. He is often found digging through wood piles and utilising a variety of trapping methods to find and identify beetles. He is an active member of the Herts Invertebrate project and Hertfordshire Natural History Society, and has helped generate some significant county records in this capacity.

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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