Friday 23 September 2016

Faith's Plant Families Workshops: botanical training opportunities in Scotland

Dan & botanists at the workshop in Glencoe
Image courtesy of F. Anstey
Last February, we reported on the training programme which Faith Anstey and her team had planned for the year ahead - a series of workshops focusing on plant families. As the 2016 botanical season draws to a close, Faith has been in touch again with this short report on how those workshops went and plans for 2017:

"We held three one-day Plant Families Workshops in 2016 – our fourth year of operation – at Glencoe, Stirling and Dundee, in association with Plantlife. 

"There were 55 participants in total, all of whom expressed their enthusiasm and gratitude for the opportunity to learn more about plant ID. 

Robin (on right) & botanists
at the workshop in Stirling
Image courtesy of F. Anstey
"They were mainly young adults working, studying or volunteering in plant-related activities; their aims to increase their skills and enhance their prospects they considered to have been well met. Fifteen leaders and tutors volunteered their time and expertise to provide this. Although we aimed to break even, we ended up with a small financial surplus.

"For spring 2017 we plan two Plant Families Workshops, in Glasgow and Ayrshire – precise dates and venues yet to be arranged. These will follow the current successful format, including free copies of the Pocket Guide to Wildflower Families, which has this year been a popular seller to a wider market.

Ian & botanists at the workshop in Glencoe
Image courtesy of F. Anstey
"After much demand for a follow-up course, we have decided to run a workshop on grass identification for beginners in Edinburgh in 2017. This will be targeted at people who have done the Plant Families course (or are at an equivalent level) but up to now may have believed identifying grasses to be horrendously difficult and only for experts. 

"By concentrating on the commonest species of neutral grassland, we hope to enable them to recognise and if necessary record these with confidence, paving the way for tackling the less familiar ones at a later stage".

Many congratulations to Faith on establishing such a very successful annual programme of training workshops. You will be able to book for them nearer the time via the Scotland page on the BSBI website, and don't forget that on our Training page we also have a list of short botany courses run by other providers from across Britain and Ireland.

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