The FSC BioLinks Project

BioLinks logo

The project
FSC BioLinks is an exciting new biodiversity project for the Field Studies Council, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, running from 2018 to 2022 inclusive. 

FSC BioLinks is all about invertebrate identification. Invertebrates provide us with many useful ecosystem services, like pollination and decomposition, which we cannot survive without but their numbers are declining. Few people know how to identify or record invertebrates meaning their is a lack of data so conservationists are struggling to fully understand where, when, how or why they're declining.  We provide learning opportunities to help people develop their invertebrate identification (ID) and recording skills. 

Young adults at carding Mill

Learning opportunities
This project provides subsidised training courses, learning opportunities and digital tools focussed on invertebrate identification for anyone involved or interested in biological recording, to build and strengthen the community.  Training opportunities will be given at all levels from beginner to expert, allowing people to develop their identification skills.  The training and digital tools will increase the quality and quantity of invertebrate species data being submitted to our national biodiversity datasets and our understanding of those data, which will help conservationists prioritise their efforts. 

The project will focus on two regions – the West Midlands and the South East.  In the West Midlands the Bishops Wood and Preston Montford FSC field centres will be further developed as hubs for this sort of invertebrate ID training and in the South East, centres in the London Region but especially FSC Bushy Park will be developed as training hubs.  Training will also be provided at other non-FSC locations within the two regions as opportunities arise, building new relationships between the FSC and various partners, as well as reaching new audiences.

Meet our team

Sue Townsend

Biodiversity Learning Manager - Sue Townsend
Sue has overall responsibility for biodiversity projects such as BioLinks. BioLinks is the latest of a series of biodiversity projects initiated by Sue. Sue has some 30 years experience and service with FSC, 18 of which were spent as the Head of Centre at Preston Montford where she maintained and enhanced its reputation for delivering high-quality natural history courses. Together with Sarah Whild, Sue created the post-graduate courses in Biological Recording, a partnership between the FSC, BSBI and Birmingham University and continues to manage FSC's relationship with the programme (which now runs in association with Manchester Metropolitan University).  She plays a key  role in other biodiversity training and accreditation initiatives and in managing the network of associate tutors delivering FSC's natural history courses up and down the country.
email: [email protected] 

Keiron Brown

FSC BioLinks Project Manager - Keiron Brown
Keiron manages the FSC BioLinks project with the aim of inspiring amateur naturalists to take up the identification and recording of invertebrate groups that are often forgotten. In his spare time he is an active member, and trustee, of the London Natural History Society and is the national recorder for earthworms (running the National Earthworm Recording Scheme on behalf of the Earthworm Society of Britain). He first became interested in invertebrates during a field-based entomology module at Newcastle University and went on to volunteer on soil biodiversity research projects at the Natural History Museum (London). This included sorting samples of invertebrates from the New Forest in Hampshire and the Malaysian rainforests of Borneo.
email: [email protected] 

Charlie Bell

FSC BioLinks Project Officer - Dr Charlie Bell 
Charlie Bell joined the FSC in Feb 2015 to work on the Tomorrow's Biodiversity project. She now works as the FSC BioLinks Project Officer in the West Midlands. Charlie's background is in conservation and ecology, and her varied interests range from chalk stream ecology and management through to birds, moths, springtails, earthworms, spiders & harvestmen! She is Membership Officer for the Earthworm Society of Britain.
email: [email protected] 

Holly Dillon Project Assistant

FSC BioLinks Project Assistant - Holly Dillon 
Holly is a conservation biologist. After finishing uni she worked on Skomer island helping monitor the island's wildlife.  She then volunteered and worked for various conservation charities, which involved everything from fieldwork, to fundraising. She's had a keen interest in invertebrates since a child and took this further whilst studying for her Masters, when she was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to spend three months studying invertebrates in the rainforests of Malaysian Borneo for her research project. After this, she joined the FSC as a Biodiversity Trainee in January 2018, spending 12 months developing her ID skills, before joining the FSC BioLinks team as project assistant. 
email: [email protected] 

Digital Development Manager - Charles Roper Charles Roper
Charles is a designer, programmer and digital strategist. He has worked as a freelance web designer and teacher, and spent 13 years at the Sussex Biodiversity Centre, first as Biodiversity Records Officer, then later as Technical Lead. He is currently on secondment from digital services within FSC where he manages a small digital development team. He specialises in bringing together design, technology, and people to create usable, inclusive digital products, and has worked or consulted on numerous projects in the biodiversity sector, including iRecord, The Flora of Sussex, Recorder, the NBN Atlas, and long-term management of the Sussex biodiversity records database.
email: [email protected]

FSC BioLinks Project PDF downloads

PDFFSC BioLinks Consultation Report. This document summarises the consultation carried out as part of the second phase application process of the FSC BioLinks project.

PDFFSC BioLinks Development Plan for Training Provision. This document formed part of the second phase application of the FSC BioLinks project. 

Contact the team
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 01743 852100 
Address: FSC Head Office, Preston Montford, Montford Bridge, Shrewsbury, Shropshire. SY14 1HW