Join like-minded people with an interest in field recording for a day identifying and surveying invertebrates in an informal environment at Tolworth Court Farm. At over 50ha its size and location along the chalk stream of the Hogsmill River in Kingston mean it is an important place for nature. A haven for Brown Hairstreak butterflies and other butterfly species, this site has not been well recorded for other invertebrate groups. Naturalists of all levels (from beginner to expert) will be able to share their experiences with peers and help one another improve knowledge and build confidence in biological recording.

The day will involve using a range of techniques to survey for and collect a variety of invertebrate specimens, some of which will be preserved on the day for identification at subsequent Volunteer ID Days. These specimens will help us to build up a species list for the site, before becoming part of a teaching collection used for our other courses and volunteer days.

Expert tutors in Freshwater invertebrates, Harvestmen, and Beetles will lead the day and participants can select which of these groups they would like to work on. You are welcome to survey a different invertebrate group on the day, but without direct tutor support.

All records collected will be added to iRecord in order to share our findings with the site managers, Local Environmental Record Centre and relevant national recording schemes and societies.

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

What will the day involve?

  • Practical experience using a variety of methods to survey and sample invertebrates
  • Practical experience in collecting and preserving specimens
  • A chance to meet fellow like-minded people from a range of different disciplines
  • Access to field equipment with support and guidance from members of the FSC BioLinks project team

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

We will provide tea and coffee, but please bring your own cup, lunch, and any other refreshments you may require!

Please note that this event will involve individuals collecting, preserving and killing invertebrate specimens for identification purposes in order to assist us in generating a site species list.

Tutor: Steve Brooks

Dragonflies first grabbed Steve Brooks' attention at an early age when the larvae he had netted in a local pond ate everything else in the jar. Since then he has been fortunate to study them at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and during a 38-year career at the Natural History Museum (London). He has since retired but continues to take an active interest in dragonflies, sits on the Conservation Committee of the British Dragonfly Society and is a Scientific Associate at the Natural History Museum. Steve has studied the taxonomy and ecology of dragonflies in Europe, Africa and South America and published widely on the group, including A Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Great Britain and Ireland (with Steve Cham and Richard Lewington) and (with Philip Corbet) Dragonflies in the New Naturalist series.

Tutor: Meg Skinner

Meg began recording invertebrates during university and studied survey techniques for moths during her MSc dissertation. Meg has contributed to several wildlife conservation projects and works as an ecologist. She has been organising the harvestmen recording scheme since 2019 for the British Arachnological Society, of which she is also a council member. Meg aims to educate and encourage the study of this little-known arachnid group.

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.
  • The Field Recorder Day will end at 4:00 pm.

What's Included

  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • Practical experience using a variety of methods to survey and sample invertebrates
  • Practical experience in collecting and preserving specimens
  • A chance to meet fellow like-minded people from a range of different disciplines
  • Access to field equipment with 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 Tolworth Court Farm

Tolworth Court Farm Moated Manor Local Nature Reserve (The Green Gates)
Old Kingston Road (Southern End)
WORCESTER PARK
KT4 7QJ

Please find a map here.

The Old Kingston Road is off the A240 (heading south), it can be a little tricky to spot as it is quite a sharp left turn. It is the first turning on the left after passing the entrance to Goals & Court Farm Garden Centre, just before crossing the Hogsmill River.  If driving, we suggest you drive slowly on the approach so as not to miss it! Once you have pulled in onto the Old Kingston Road, the green gates which take you into the site are on the right. There is some on-street parking (spaces for approx 5 cars) just outside the gates, and additional street parking on Worcester Park Road and a carpark at Court Farm Garden Centre.

Public Transport/ cycling: Tolworth Railway Station is approximately a 5-10 min walk away from the site. Tolworth Bus Stop is also just by the station where the K2, 406, 418 & 613 stop. Also there are plenty of places to park & lock cycles in the nature reserve.

Driving: There is limited on street parking outside the nature reserve (space for approximately 5 cars). Further to this, there is some street parking on Worcester Park Road and at the Court Farm Garden Centre. Please avoid driving if possible.

What to bring

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Lunch
  • Suitable clothing for the weather and appropriate footwear for walking.
  • Any personal field equipment you have such as a hand lens and pooter (equipment will be provided for those that need it).
  • Your own cup for teas and coffees

Please note that this event will involve individuals collecting, preserving and killing invertebrate specimens for identification purposes in order to assist us in generating a site species list.

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.

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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