Sunday, 2 December 2012

Hoverfly course in South London

Stuart and I will be running one our very successful two-day training courses in Whitelands College, University of Roehampton on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 January. There are at least four spaces to be filled and so anybody who is an absolute novice and wants to get to grips with hoverfly identification is welcome to book a place. More details will be supplied closer to the time for those who have booked.

We think the costs will be around £10-15 per head but I've yet to finalise this. It is a bit cheaper than normal because London is a short distance from Peterborough and we will be able to use my mother's home as a base - thus minimising accommodation costs. Anybody wanting to attend should let me know at roger dot morris at Pipex dot com - I will put you in contact with the organiser Amanda Morgan.
Hoverfly identification course run at Yarner Wood near Exeter in March 2012


Our approach is to run courses in the winter months using specimens that have been collected specially for this purpose. The species we tend to use are those common ones that you are most likely to see. We have found this to be a far more satisfactory approach than running courses during the summer and relying on specimens caught by students. We usually do a weekend course – timing generally to suit the venue:

Morning 1 Start around 9.30

  •  Introductory talk - the Syrphidae (lasts about 2 hours)
  • Talked-through run through the key to Tribes - this usually takes up the final bit of the morning.

 Afternoon 1 end around 5pm

  •  Pupils work through specimens - taking a wide number through the key to tribes (duration depends upon ability of the group)
  • Variable - may do a talked through run at keys to species (dependent upon ability of the group).

 Morning 2 start 9.30

  •   Talked through run at keys to species /pupils run specimens to species
  • Session stops at various points to explain features e.g. wing venation
  • Talk on preparing specimens etc.

Afternoon 2 end around 4 pm

  • Talk on 'finding hoverflies'
  • Further specimen ID
  • Talk on the Recording scheme etc.

The programme tends to be a bit fluid to take account of abilities and the need to give people a break from microscopy. We bring all ID materials etc plus as many copies of Stubbs & Falk as possible - pupils should bring their own if they have them. We take breaks for tea/coffee as appropriate.

We will provide:

  •  12 Microscopes
  • 12 Sets of course literature (charged at £6.00 per person)
  • All specimens & broader collection
  • Powerpoint presentations - we usually bring a computer

What the organisers need to provide 

  • Venue
  • Sufficient bench space for 12 students – layout ideally in a standard classroom format.
  • Powerpoint projector & screen (if advised in advance we can provide a projector)
  • Tea/Coffee facilities

Please note we can only accommodate 12 students as the specimens we carry are only sufficient for this size group and we will only have sufficient microscopes for such a group.

 Costs etc - we charge for:

Fuel, tolls etc
At cost
Overnight accommodation
Work on £70-80 per night for a twin room + £30 per day for subsistence = £220
Cost of course handouts - a new version of the key to tribes in colour + a package of additional information
£6 per set per person - with a class of 12 (max) this would be £72

So, we reckon the costs for a single weekend are in the order of £350 for venues within a 250 mile radius of Peterborough. Of course that depends upon fuel costs and guest houses. We will travel as required, but clearly more remote venues may cost a bit more, especially if they involve a very long journey on the Sunday.

What usually happens is that the organising venue charges pupils at a suitable rate - usually around £30 per head. If groups decide to charge to make a profit we usually ask for a donation to Dipterists Forum.

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