Invertebrate Volunteer Identification Days

Invertebrate Volunteer Identification Days

Come join us at Bushy Park or Bishops Wood for an Invertebrate Volunteer ID Day...

What even is an Invertebrate Volunteer Identification Day?

Slug Identification

Let’s look at how the Cambridge English Dictionary defines some of these key words:

  • Invertebrates are animals with no spine.
  • A volunteer is ‘a person who does something, especially helping other people, willingly and without being forced or paid to do it’.
  • Identification (ID) is ‘the act of recognizing and naming someone or something’.

So, an Invertebrate Volunteering ID Day would be: A day which is spent recognising and naming different invertebrates by a group of willing and unpaid people. Although there is a bit more to it than that…


Wait a minute. Are you asking me to work for free?

Well, the answer is both yes and no.  

What we’re asking, is for you to become involved with what we are already doing; or to come and use our facilities to work on your own project or interests.  

We provide access to our lab facility, invertebrate specimens, entomological supplies, stereo microscopes, identification keys and publications, and a member of the FSC BioLinks team. To literally sweeten the deal there are also always copious amounts of biscuits, tea and coffee on standby.  

You can come for the full day or just a couple of hours, its entirely up to you. 

Okay, but what's in it for me?

  • Access to our entomological library, equipment, supplies and a stereo microscope.
  • Support and guidance from a member of the FSC BioLinks project team.
  • Make a difference. Whether you're helping us with one of our projects or developing your own skills, your contribution is really valuable to us and our project partners.
  • Meet people. A chance to meet like-minded people from a range of different disciplines.
  • Be part of a community.  A space where you can be part of something outside of work and your friends and family. Where you can geek out with other people who are interested in invertebrates.
  • Learn new skills, improve your invertebrate knowledge, and gain practical entomological experience.
  • Gain confidence. You can gain confidence by trying something new and build a real sense of achievement.
  • Take on a challenge. Challenge yourself to try something different, achieve personal goals, practise using your skills and discover hidden talents.
  • Have fun! Most volunteers have a great time, regardless of why they do it. 
  • Biscuits. Have we already mentioned the biscuits?

Biscuits, biscuits and more biscuits....

What projects are you currently working on?

At the moment, we're working on the following projects in Bushy Park, London:

  • identifying woodlice collected from pitfall traps for Buglife
  • sorting leaf litter invertebrates from Winkler extractions for the Natural History Museum  
  • setting, pinning, carding and labelling specimens for our teaching and reference collection
  • preparing beetle specimens for some of our upcoming courses. 

At Bishop's Wood, Worcester, we're working on the following projects:

  • sorting and/or identifying mixed terrestrial and aquatic insect samples from our Field Recorder Day events
  • producing a teaching collection of dragonfly and damselfly exuviae
  • carding, pinning and setting specimens that other volunteers have identified
  • creating our terrestrial invertebrate teaching collection

You do not need to have any experience to become involved with any of these projects. A member of the BioLinks team can provide training and supervision.

Who volunteers with you?

Invertebrate IDThere are a number of people from all walks of life who come along to our Invertebrate ID Volunteering Days. Rarely more than ten people at a time to ensure that everyone has access to a microscope and desk space. Some people come to almost every session, while others come less regularly. We have people working on their own taxonomic groups such as flies, earthworms, beetles, ants, and centipedes, as well as those who like to try their hand at everything. It's a very informal space where you can get to know other people interested in invertebrates and entomology and try out something different.

All our volunteers have to be over 18 to participate.

Where are the sessions held?

We're based at Bushy Park in southwest London. You can find details of how to get to us here.
And at Bishop's Wood near Worcester. Access information can be found here.

Come join us!

Book a slot via the BioLinks course and event listings so that we can make sure that you get access to a microscope.

Bushy Park, London dates:
Bishop's Wood, Worcester dates:

Or email us at [email protected] to discuss how you could get involved.