Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Developing trainers

I attended Eric Philp's funeral at Deerton Natural Cemetery today. It was of course a sombre occasion but was greatly brightened by the many excellent reflections of Eric's contribution to Natural History. For me, the most telling point was just how many people reflected on his unassuming but considerable contribution to encouraging natural historians from all walks of life. He will be greatly missed but his legacy lives on. He produced two fantastic floras of Kent that stand as a testimony to his dedication. Perhaps more importantly he clearly influenced a further generation of naturalists. The world needs more people like Eric who can motivate and enthuse people.

That brings me on to the main point of this analysis. I had a short chat with Richard Jones about training initiatives and how to teach invertebrate identification skills. There are no 'right' and 'wrong' ways. Everybody is different and of course different insects require different skills. However, it did strike me that there is much to be learned from other people's experience and that maybe we need to share our experiences? Stuart Ball and I have often mused over the need to run a 'Training for Trainers' course. We have plenty to offer and we hope that other people have experience that they might want to relay too.

I am therefore using this blog as a way of asking - is there a call for such a meeting? I would like to get people from various disciplines (not just Dipterists) to get together. If there is interest I will happily look into such an idea and try to organise an event next autumn. So, do let me know. I imagine we might look at the Natural History Museum as a possible venue, but alternatively maybe we could get some funding support for a meeting at one of the FSC centres?


  1. Roger, I have just seen this and feel it is an initiative I'd like to contribute towards. The primary reason for doing the MSc was to check the skills I was passing forward in Wiltshire were as best 'normalised' to current practice. I even would be happy to help with the organisational stuff should you take enough takers.

    Cheers Marc

  2. I too would be interested in this, Roger. I think it is a great idea. I am lucky living in Northants as our Wildlife Trust run excellent identification workshops, some of which you have taught. However I do know that not many Trusts do this and I think they miss out on having locally skilled people to help with invertebrate recording. I may also be able to bring something to the meeting from my experience in supporting the local Diptera Group.