Saturday, 1 December 2012

Developing local hoverfly groups

Stuart and I spent today with a group of hoverfly enthusiasts from Northamtonshire - part of the Northants Diptera Group. It was great to see seven people who had specimens to have checked and wanted to get a better understanding of tricky genera - Platycheirus and Cheilosia.

What is very apparent is that a combination of factors are needed to get a group mobilised and enthused. The influence of the local Wildlife Trust's continuing interest in training is very apparent. They have several venues where courses can be run, and also have microscopes available. Perhaps other Trusts could consider doing the same?

However, the biggest factor is that one person (John Showers who is Dipterists Forum's Membership Secretary) has organised field meetings and has given the group clear leadership. It would be great to see other groups doing the same. A similar level of interest has been developed in Shropshire through the Field Studies Council's 'Invertebrate Challenge' at Preston Montford. This sort of investment will hopefully yield long-term benefits with new active recorders in formerly poorly recorded counties.

We are keen to play our part. We are always happy to run courses for novices and can also run follow-up meetings if called upon to do so. We can supply most if not all of the necessary equipment but need a local organiser to handle the venue and take bookings. As I have previously blogged - our approach is to charge the basic costs and no more - a two-day weekend course usually works out in the region £300-£350 depending on the distance from Peterborough and the local cost of guest house accommodation. Does anybody fancy developing a hoverfly group in their area? If so, let us know and we will see what we can do to help move it forward.

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