Tomorrow's Invertebrate Recorder: Izzy Molloy


I won a place on the "Tomorrow's Invertebrate Recorders" course - a week long residential programme for young people run by the FSC BioLinks project and A Focus On Nature providing an introduction to surveying invertebrates.When I reflected upon the abundance of experiences and skills I’d gained during ​Tomorrow’s  Invertebrate Recorders, ​I was surprised to note how valuable the week had been from a social  perspective.   

Connecting with others

 It feels like a vulnerable thing to write about, the value of connecting with others. I have  difficulty connecting in daily life.  I’m autistic and part of what that means for me is that I  struggle with interpersonal dynamics. This concerned me as I approached FSC Preston  Montford in Shrewsbury during August 2019. While I was impatient to absorb information  and dig around in the dirt, I was troubled by the reality that I was going to spend a week in a  fairly social environment.

I’m usually the youngest person at any local nature event and I  don’t mind this. On the contrary, I value the breadth of knowledge which is more likely to be  held by older members of the naturalist community. My most thrilling passing social  exchanges concern eager fact sharing and delighting in discoveries. It’s less easy to hide  behind facts, however, in a group of similarly aged peers. Particularly when there’s a cocktail  evening in the itinerary.   

 A sense of community

As the week began to unfold I was aware that my need to hide was less urgent than it usually  is. I felt a sense of community. There’s nothing like trying to work through a challenging  spider ID key to bring people together. But more than that, the sense of commitment and  concern for the natural world was grounding and unifying. We all know that the natural  world is in crisis, and our socioeconomic reality isn’t conducive to supporting it, let alone  rectify the problem. During ​Tomorrow’s Invertebrate Recorders ​I felt a recognition of this fact,  and a desire to change things.

Biological recording is one way in which individuals can make  a contribution to conservation efforts, without the need of resource-intensive volunteer  coordination. Learning that skill and feeling excited about it was a special experience.  There’s a sense of solidarity that comes with spending time alongside others who care deeply  about the natural world, especially as it faces crisis. ​Tomorrow’s Invertebrate Recorders ​was an  immensely valuable experience and I am very grateful to the FSC and Biolinks project for  giving me the opportunity to attend it. 

 Blog by Izzy Molloy

Published 26/03/2020