Looking for a plant identification, botany or habitat survey training course?
We are running a programme of plant identification courses aimed at professional ecologists and interested volunteers again in 2011. See www.ptyxis.com/training.html or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org for a Booking Form & prices. Our courses are the same price as most ecology CPD, at between £60 and £80 a day (no VAT).
Our courses include:
•Phase 1 Habitat Survey
•Grasses, Sedges & Rushes for Phase 1 Habitat Survey
•Identifying Invasive Plants on the New Schedule 9 List
•Using the Wild Flower Key: Botany for beginners & the top 10 plant families
•Identifying Grass Indicator Species in Flower
•Plant Indicator Species for Phase 1 Habitat Survey
•Introduction to Aquatic Plants
•Sphagnum Identification & Ecology
•Introduction to Bryophytes as Indicator Species
There are still few organisations offering this type of botanical CPD training in the UK. Many are unaccrediated courses, which means that the quality of the teaching is not independently monitored. This is probably OK if the tutors involved have their work regularly checked anyway as they teach for universities or colleges or other awarding bodies with QA processes, but many courses never mention who is actually doing the teaching - and if they do, few state that their teaching is independently assessed. Being a professional ecologist does not mean that you know how to teach professionally! Professional teachers have to do CPD, just like ecologists, so they should be striving to improve their courses and, for example, have evidence to show that they can cater for mixed abilities in their groups.
It is also important to realise that attending an identification course is a great start, but that you need to practice regularly (by which I mean at least once a week, every week over the summer season) to retain and develop the skill....so as with any field of expertise, it helps if you really love the subject (and being outdoors)!