Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Diptera training courses

Stuart recently put together the map figured here to show where we had given training courses over the past 25 years. The vast majority were in the past ten years but we did start running courses way back when we ran one at the now defunct Rogate Field Station for the Ecological Studies Society linked to Birkbeck College.

Our ability to provide courses was greatly improved by grants from the OPAL fund that facilitated the purchase of a camera-microscope and a set of microscopes for running courses away from traditional field centres. The map tells the story and shows how effective the OPAL money has been in facilitating training. Some additional funding has been provided by Natural England and by Dipterists Forum which, together, have made it even more practical to fill the car with equipment and travel to a far-off location. The longest journey so far was Shetland. We have also had inquires from Ireland and from France but as yet have not managed to take them further .... maybe one day!

What the map does not show is the numbers of times we have run courses at particular locations. For example, we have run courses at Preston Montford on perhaps 15-20 occasions. Likewise we have run numerous courses at Ring Haw Field Station for the local Wildlife Trust and have travelled to Glasgow on at least half a dozen occasions. Most others are single or a couple of visits. Where possible we try to do a couple of basic courses and then do an intermediate follow-up course to help with difficult genera.

In the last two years we have scaled back our efforts. This year we only have a couple of courses scheduled. If my health permits, then hopefully we will do a few more next winter - I have had several inquiries and we are keen to get back on the road. So, hopefully there will be a few more dots on maps by April 2019!

Locations where training courses in Diptera and Hoverfly identification have been provided  by Stuart Ball & Roger Morris since 1993

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