Saturday, 7 July 2018

BSBI Training Grants Helping Botanists in 2018

BSBI offers small training grants to enable botanists at all skill levels to take short courses and improve their ID skills

Here botanist Falgunee Sarker tells us about the course she took thanks to a BSBI training grant. 

Over to Falgunee:


"I have just completed the course of 'Identifying Difficult Higher Plants' at Preston Montford Field Study Centre, a course offered by the Field Studies Council.


"The course took place from 8th June to 11th June, 2018. Course tutors were Dr. Tim Rich and Mark Duffell.

"The Centre provided excellent supporting service to the participants, providing timed pick up service from railway station, both on arrival and departure. Facilities in the Centre were also very good.

"In this course the lectures, demonstrations, field work, help and advice were very useful and well thought out. Handouts and keys were clearly explained and tested in the class room and out of the class room.

"We also learnt how to prepare and mount proper herbarium specimens. In this country I have experienced different methodologies applied at different places, but the method shown here appeared to be the most practical.

"Outdoor teaching has been a great joy for me. Placing our quadrat down and finding out what was there, provided much more fun. We had four days of uninterrupted glorious sunshine.

"We practised making dichotomous keys using Apiaceae family. We also used Gramineae, Cyperaceae, Asteraceae, Fumitory and Sorbus keys to identify plants. Fern spores were tested microscopically for identification purpose.

"Using keys to identify plants were made easy by the systematic methodology. 

"Throughout the course we tried and tested many different types of keys to unlock the mystery of identification.

"Tutors' understanding towards students need were exceptional. This makes the FSC courses the best of all other courses. I found tutor-led courses were always the most helpful for me. 

"The approach was easy and guidance given towards aiding understanding was always available. 

"Extensive lectures demonstrated how to do a good research in principle and practice, before surveying a plant population. I have gained so much knowledge from this course, like, critical plant identification skill, survey methodology, legislation, data collection system, equipment for surveys and presentation of data. 

"This has certainly helped me with my field work.

"As a retired NHS Biochemist, being able to embark on postgraduate study has been prohibitively expensive, but also a great joy. Through many hours of voluntary work, I hope I have returned something of value to my local community and the wider UK with my plant survey work, including the skills that I have learnt and continue to use every day. 

"Therefore I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to BSBI Training Grant Panel for awarding a generous grant towards the course".