If you’re interested in lichens, then this day is for you! It’s a day for people who are fascinated by lichens but don’t know where to start with them. It’s a very gentle introduction to the world of lichens and the art (and science!) of telling one kind from another. Lichens are remarkable, often beautiful and they can be found in a vast range of locations. Based in Greenwich Park, we will look at the basic structure of lichens, concentrating on the main features used in identification. We will have an introduction to the issues of pollution that impact on lichens and their rapidly changing fortunes in London and what this tells us. We will be going outside to look at and admire lichens in the field and learn some common species, concentrating on those that grow on trees. We will identify some common lichens using a simple key and discuss the role of lichens in nature. Course fee includes FSC fold out charts: Key to Lichens on Twigs.

Course objectives:

You should, at the end of the course, feel able to use basic identification guides with some confidence and be able to identify some of the commoner lichens. You should feel eager and confident to find and examine lichens yourself and be more aware of their diversity.

Tutor: Joe Beale

Joe Beale is a London-based naturalist and an experienced tutor. He organises lichen surveys in London and worked on the lichen collection at the Natural History Museum while on the Identification Trainers for the Future programme. Joe has extensive experience of recording wildlife and plants in London’s parks and contributes regularly to publications such as the London Naturalist and the London Bird Report. He is passionate about the fascinating biodiversity of London’s green spaces and communicating this richness to others.

Example Timetable

09.30 Registration
10.00 Introductory presentation, including an overview of pollution and lichens and their changing fortunes in London and lichens within ecosystems
11.00 Prepare for fieldwork – brief discussion about purpose of and techniques of fieldwork
11.10 Walk in the Park to examine lichens, mainly on trees and learn some common species
13.30 Lunch back at the Classroom
14.30 Classroom session
15.30 Closing presentation including recommendations for further study, summary and questions
16.00 Course ends

All timings are approximate. This is an outline programme and may be subject to change according to the weather, requirements of the group or access restrictions to field sites on the day of the course. Our courses include some classroom sessions but field visits may be a few hours long and involve walking over uneven ground.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • Personal and Travel Insurance

Before You Attend

What to bring

  • Sensible clothing for the weather
  • Appropriate footwear
  • Lunch and Drinks (refreshments are provided)


  • Botany field guide and hand lens