This advanced course will cover great crested newt identification and ecology, survey techniques, the Habitat Suitability Index (HSI), and will include opportunities to practice netting, bottle trapping, torch, and egg searching.

Great crested newts are fully protected in the UK and training/experience is required to gain a Statutory Agency licence to carry out surveys. This course will be delivered through a balance of classroom learning and opportunities to survey for newts at a variety of ponds, practicing the main techniques discussed and identifying the newts found.

About our partner, ARC

The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC) was established in June 2009. ARC was created around the core of the Herpetological Conservation Trust (HCT), in response to the wider needs of herpetofauna conservation, providing the UK focus for all aspects of reptile and amphibian conservation. ARC continues to focus on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, creating an extensive network of nature reserves, coordinating monitoring programmes and volunteer networks and developing an effective role in advocacy both within the UK and Europe.

Tutor: Stuart Whittaker

Stuart started being involved in nature conservation in his late 20s, with frequent visits to nature reserves in the UK. In his 30s, he went back into education to learn countryside management in Scotland and through this received his first role as the Lothian Area Ranger for the national trust for Scotland. His current role is the Community woodland officer for Cassiltoun Housing Association, looking after Castlemilk park from woodland maintenance to biodiversity recording and engaging the community in informal and formal education. He has varied knowledge and a wide-ranging skillset from being a forest school leader, working on information and interpretation in urban green spaces, to biodiversity recording, specialising in many different species including bats, newts, wildflowers and, being a woodland officer, trees. He also has a passion for upskilling and engaging communities with nature.