This residential course incorporates everything you need to know to be able to accurately identify and record a number of terrestrial invertebrates to species.

With a mix of classroom presentations, laboratory-based sessions, and field-based activities our expert tutors will guide you through the lifestyles, ecology, and morphology of UK terrestrial invertebrates. Attendees will be provided with detailed information on sampling equipment and techniques with practical hands-on opportunities to collect live specimens.

Attendees will use preserved specimens from our tutor’s teaching collection for identification to species-level using microscopes and identification keys, and our tutors will demonstrate best practices for creating your very own reference collection.

Information on invertebrate recording, submitting records and connecting with schemes, societies and groups will also be provided.

  • Certificate upon course completion.
  • Access to microscopes, specimen collection, lab equipment, field equipment and identification resources.
  • Tuition from tutors specialising in terrestrial invertebrates.
  • Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.
  • Please note that this course will involve collecting, killing and preserving invertebrate specimens.

This course is aimed at adults only and course attendees must be at least 18 years old in order to attend.

By the end of this course, you will:

  • have a grounding in Britain’s terrestrial invertebrate taxonomy and major taxa
  • be able to use external (morphological) features for specimen identification
  • have used various collecting techniques for a variety of habitats and species
  • gain practical experience using field guides and identification keys to determine specimens accurately to species-level
  • gain practical experience observing invertebrate ID features using a microscope
  • know how to curate your own personal reference collection
  • be given guidance on how to take your interest further and contribute associated recording schemes

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.

Course Fees

Resident (Sole Occupancy) £50.00

Course fees are subsidised by the FSC BioLinks project. Accommodation, meals and all course-related materials are included. If attendees who have booked together require a shared room please contact the centre to arrange this.

Please note that bathrooms may be shared and we are unable to guarantee en-suite bathrooms for any bookings.

Waiting List

If the course is full and you would like to be added to the waiting list, please email us at [email protected]g and let us know the name, date and location of the course you'd like to be added to the waiting list for.

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.

Book with Confidence

We understand the difficulties of making plans in the current situation when guidelines continue to change, and insurance conditions are being tightened. In response, we will continue to offer additional flexibility. Find out more here

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Full Board Accommodation
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • Certificate upon course completion.
  • Access to microscopes, specimen collection, lab equipment, field equipment and identification resources.
  • Tuition from tutors specialising in terrestrial invertebrates.
  • Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.
  • Please note that this course will involve collecting, killing and preserving invertebrate specimens.

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 Preston Montford

FSC Preston Montford, Montford Bridge, Shrewsbury SY4 1DX

Direct enquiries: 01743 852040 (Mon-Fri, 9am–5pm)

  • By Road: From the A5, take the roundabout exit signposted to Mid-Wales and Welshpool (A458). One mile along this road, turn right onto B4473, we are located on the left after approx ½ mile.
  • By Bus or Train: Shrewsbury stations.

What to bring

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Appropriate clothing and footwear for outdoor activity
  • Your own copy of FSC AIDGAP 'A Key to the Major Groups of British Terrestrial Invertebrates' if you have it (so that you can make notes)
  • Pooter (if you have one)
  • Hand lens (if you have one)

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.

This BioLinks course has aspects that will be taught outdoors with walking to field sites over uneven ground. No special preparation is required providing you are used to gentle exercise. If you have any concerns or questions about access or the activities involved, please get in touch.

Check-in & Check-out

  • Check-in on the first day will be between 16:00 and 18:00 - if you need a later check-in, please contact the centre to notify them in advance
  • Check-out on the final day will be at 09:30. We will arrange somewhere secure to store your luggage for the remainder of the day.
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