Blogs

For the love of flies

Marin Harvey teaching on a Learn to Love flies workshopBioLinks tutor Martin Harvey reports from his recent “Learn to love flies” workshop, which took place on 27 June 2018 at Dinton Pastures in Berkshire. The BioLinks project has taken a fresh look at how we can encourage people to follow a pathway towards expertise in some of the more neglected insect groups. This pathway starts with the “Learn to love ...” courses, which give people an introduction to a species group and its natural history, without going too far into complex technical terms and concepts.

QGIS - is there something missing?

QGIS Screenshot

The FSC QGIS Plugin has been helping UK biological recorders to visualise and analyse their records since November 2014. FSC BioLinks will provide ongoing support for the plugin until, at least, the end of 2022. We want to hear your ideas about how we can improve and extend the functionality of the plugin to make it even more useful to you. Do you have ideas? However trivial or outlandish you think they are, we want to hear them. There's every chance that the thing you've always wanted QGIS to do, as a biological recorder, could become part of the next major release of the FSC QGIS plugin.

Citizen Scientists Reveal Stark Decline of the Enigmatic Common Clubtail Dragonfly

Common Clubtail - Gomphus vulgatissimus - by Christophe BrochardThe results of the biggest Dragonfly citizen science project ever to hit Great Britain have revealed the ‘Near Threatened’ Common Clubtail is absent on many of the surveyed rivers. However, there was also a ray of hope as the species was spotted for the first time in Devon. 

Putting the invertebrates in order

Books on the Fabre shelfGuest blog by Siiri Hubbard and Nigel Kelly. Melville Louis Kossuth Dewey (1851-1931), was an American librarian, entrepreneur, womaniser, spelling reformer and inventor of a decimal-based system for the organisation of knowledge in libraries.  He divided all knowledge into ten broad subject areas, such as science 500-599; divided each of those areas into ten, such as animals 590-599; divided each of those into ten, such as 598 birds; and so on, such as 598.9 raptors.  Whether it’s books, reports or cdROMs, you can assign them a Dewey number, and all the items on similar subjects in your library and its catalogue come together.  As the meerkat (599.742) says, “simples”.

Addressing the generational skills gap

FSC BioLinks will deliver 60+ training courses per year over 5 years (c) Keiron Derek Brown In 2016 the Field Studies Council (FSC) was awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop a project to address the lack of people able to identify and record difficult species groups, with a focus on the West Midlands and South East regions of England. We spent nearly a year consulting with a wide range of professionals and volunteers involved in the natural history sector and something  become very clear: professionals and volunteers alike expressed their concerns that not enough young people were joining the ranks of biological recorders and it is widely recognised that a generational skills gap is developing in field and identification skills, largely due to changes in the way biology and ecology is taught at all levels of the education system.

Plugin the gap...reflections on teaching QGIS for the FSC. Guest blog by Matt Davies

Matt Davies, FSC Associate TutorI like maps. I always have. I can thank both my father, a town planner, and the Scouts for nurturing my interest. With such a background, it’s no surprise that that during my university degrees I developed an interest in GIS!

If you wish to live and thrive...

In 2017 Lesley Lancaster attended all three levels of Tom.bio spider ID courses: 'Learn to Love Spiders', 'Field ID of Spiders' and 'Spider ID With Microscopes'.  Read her account of her 'spider journey' here!

Darwin's Garden earthworm weekend

Sampling for earthworms in Doctors Field, ShrewsburyDarwin had a lifelong fascination with earthworms. A cartoon of the elderly Darwin shows him, deep in thought, with a large earthworm suspended like a question mark above him.  So it was a definite thrill to be setting out for a day of earthworm hunting in Darwin’s childhood garden, where the young Charles discovered and honed his fascination with the natural world.

Joy of Wildlife Walks - guest blog by Keith Fowler

Shropshire entomologists in action2018 will be the seventh year in which I have arranged wildlife walks within the county of Shropshire. These are attended by a number of individuals with a wide variety of interests and skills who like to enjoy what nature has to offer and each other’s’ company.   Read more...

Rewilding and recording - Knepp Estate

Meadows of fleabane at KneppA couple of weeks ago the Tom.bio team (myself and Rich Burkmar), plus FSC Biodiversity Manager Sue Townsend and Biodiversity trainee Sue Loughran, were lucky enough to spend a few magical days at Knepp Castle estate in West Sussex.  

Read on for more...

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