Tuesday 20 August 2019

BSBI Training Grants Helping Botanists in 2019: Part Three

Marsh fragrant-orchid in the
swamp at Sweeny Fen
Image: M. Duffell
Earlier this year, botanist Emily applied for - and was awarded - a BSBI training grant to help her attend a course to be held in June at FSC Preston Montford. The course, on Advanced Botanical Identification, would be run by ace trainer Mark Duffell. 

So now the course has taken place and Emily has been in touch to tell us about it. Over to Emily:  

"The course was fantastic, we covered yellow composites, sedges, rushes, grasses and aquatic plants. The weekend course included indoor sessions which provided a great re-cap on terminology, particularly for yellow composites, a group I am often scared to tackle. Mark brought a range of specimens for the class to practice keying out using Stace's New Flora of the British Isles

"The Saturday included an excellent field trip to Sweeny Fen, a site which I had heard of but had never visited, so it was a great opportunity and we saw a large variety of sedges, rushes and grasses. In particular I was able to key out a number of  species I have not seen before such as Juncus foliosus and Triglochin palustris. The weekend was focused on practising keying out difficult groups and I have gained confidence to try these on my own. I would now feel capable of attending a course that focused on yellow composites. 

Blunt-flowered rush, angelica &
hemp-agrimony at Sweeny Fen
Image: M. Duffell 
"Mark, as always, was a brilliant tutor and was always calm and very patient, despite me constantly asking questions and for more specimens. Also, the handouts provided during the course will allow me to re-cap the information at home and are small enough for me to take out into the field easily! Importantly, the course was at the right level for me, we quickly covered basics of plant identification but focused on the more difficult groups and was sufficiently challenging. 

"Also, I attended a sedge course with Chris Metherell around two years ago and this course provided an excellent re-cap to sedges. Hopefully, I will be able to reach a level 5 FISC within the next two years and this course has given me some of the skills to do that, it is now up to me to get out on my own and keep practising!

Many thanks to Emily for telling us about the course she was able to attend thanks to a BSBI Training Grant. A reminder that the next round of Training Grant applications opens on 1st January 2020. The application form will be here and the grants are usually all snapped up within a few weeks so be ready to get your application in quickly! 

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