Worcestershire Record No. 2 April 1997 p. 2

Certificate in Biological Recording and Species Identfiication

by Sarah Whild, Academic Adviser in Ecology, School of Continuing Studies, University of Birmingham.

Mapping distributions of plants, identifying birds, describing sites and the habitats and communities which are present - as the idea of biodiversity takes hold, how can we audit the wildlife of our patch?

Increasing numbers of organisations are acquiring a computer database on which to input field data - but how do we ensure that we have the data we need and that we know how to put this in a meaningful form?

University of Birmingham School of Continuing Studies, in conjunction with the Field Studies Council and the Botanical Society of the British Isles, has organised a part-time certificate to cover aspects of biological recording, such as use of Recorder database programme and DMap distribution mapping facility, combined with modules on how to record in the field, how to set up monitoring and survey programmes, and how to identify a wide range of species including mosses, fungi and a range of the more difficult higher plants. It is planned to introduce a range of zoological identification courses next year.

The course can be taken over a period of one to three years and the modules can be selected from the range on offer, with just one core module on Biological Recording (covering use of Recorder and DMap) which is compulsory if the full certificate is to be gained.

The certificate is aimed at
museum workers
wildlife trust officers
amateur naturalists involved in recording schemes
environmental consultants
local authority planning and leisure departments
environmental agencies such as English Nature, Countryside Council for Wales, ADAS, Environment Agency
any naturalists who wishes to update their recording skills

All modules are residential, based at various Field Studies Council field centres. It is a programme of study which the student can custom-design, accumulating a total of 60 credits to gain the certificate.


1. Identifying Wild Flowers

13th-18th June 1997 at Preston Montford, Shropshire, taught by S. Whild

2. Biological Recording

4th to 11th July 1997 at Preston Montford, Shropshire, taught by Alex Lockton and Sarah Whild

3. An Introduction to the National Vegetation Classification

14-18th July 1997 - at Preston Montford, Shropshire, taught by Adrian Bayley

4. Mosses and Liverworts

1st-8th August 1997 at Preston Montford, Shropshire, taught by Martha Newton

5. Introduction to Ferns

30th August-6th September 1997 at Blencathra in the Lake District, taught by James Merryweather

6. The Fascination of fungi

17th-24th October 1997 at Preston Montford, Shropshire, taught by Derek Reid

7. Identifying difficult plant groups

This module consists of a series of weekend courses on the more difficult plants groups. The courses will be run on a two year cycle and listed below are the groups to be covered in 1997. The student can select a combination of these to make up the requisite number of credits.

Next year (1998) we will be offering umbellifers, sedges, pondweeds, and docks and knotweeds.

Yellow composites

13th-15th June 1997 at Preston Montford, Shropshire, taught by Franklyn Perring

Getting to Grips with Grasses

11th-13th July 1997 at Preston Montford, Shropshire by Adrian Bayley


15th-17th August 1997 at Juniper Hall, Surrey, taught by Franklyn Perring

All botanical courses are approved by the Botanical Society of the British Isles and taught by BSBI members.

For further details or an application form please contact Sarah Whild on 01743 343789 or write to her at

School of Continuing Studies
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Or, you can book directly through the Field Studies Council field centres by calling Sue Townsend on 01743 850380.

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