Old dogs and new tricks.

As I mentioned in my previous post a trip to the NBN (national biodiversity network, @NBNTrust)  conference at York stiffened my resolve to be a more active biological recorder and caused me to get my kids out to Treswell, this month I have taken that a step further.

I have been a member of the tomorrows biodiversity project (@FSCTomBio) for a year or so without really getting involved, I read the tweets and looked at the courses, thinking that it was all a good idea and that one day I should attend some of their training. Well I finally signed up for their introduction to biological recording at Preston Montford Field Centre (@PrestonMontford). The course could easily have been dull, two people doing almost all of the teaching over long days (we’ve all been subjected to death by powerpoint right), but this was not the case. The course tutors, Charlie Bell and Rich Burkmar, worked really well together and bounced off of each other keeping things light and informal. I found the pitch and pace to be pretty good too, but the best part for me was the short session on earthworm identification which led to us generating data to record on ispot (@ispotnature).

worm ID

Students on the Introduction to biological recording course get stuck into earthworm recognition.

Talking to other students on the course I was interested just how many of them who were graduates or current undergraduates and involved in ecology felt that they lacked sufficient field ecology skills. This is a situation that resonates with me personally and I was very surprised at just how little attention was paid to this during my BSc in Conservation Biology, a weakness that I am now trying to address with external training. These points were brought even more sharply into focus recently when I read a blog post from BSG Ecology (@BSGEcology) explaining exactly what practioners are looking for in someone who is new to consultancy (http://www.bsg-ecology.com/what-are-we-looking-for-in-a-graduate-ecologist/).

To complete the new experiences I have taken tentative steps onto my first ever MOOC (massive open online course) this week having signed up for the future learn climate change course delivered in conjunction with Exeter University (@ClimateExeter). This is reckoned to take around 3 hrs a week for 8 weeks and participants are encouraged to blog about it so I will let you know how it goes!

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