Wednesday 23 March 2016

Getting into ecology and conservation

Ask any ecologist or conservationist how they got into this line of work, and almost all will tell you about how they got stuck in with volunteering, and what awesome days they were!

Me in 2012, volunteering on a Water Vole survey with Row Baker at Arundel

Volunteering for the Sussex Wildlife Trust opened up to me a new world of local wildlife, and the passionate people who are trying to conserve it. There are many wildlife organisations out there wanting to engage with volunteers and recruit new members, and now social media makes it even easier to connect with these groups... a healthier use of Facebook and Twitter!

Myself and Laurie Jackson (who I also met through volunteering) have come up with a list of wildlife groups and recording schemes which people can get involved with, whether you're a student of biological sciences, a recent graduate, or just someone who is looking to get outdoors more and discover an endlessly rewarding new hobby...

Firstly, consider starting to keep a species list by signing up to iRecord:

Events/ short courses in wildlife identification, ecology and field skills:

Sussex Wildlife Trust
Surrey Wildlife Trust
Knepp Wildlands Safaris
Field Studies Council (FSC)

For families and kids:

Sussex Wildlife Trust family events
Surrey Wildlife Trust family events
Amateur Entomologists' Society Bug Club
Field Studies Council family activities

Specialist courses and training ecological consultants:

Bat Conservation Trust
Mammal Society
Amphibians and Reptiles Group
British Trust for Ornithology
Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) :
Acorn Ecology
Field Studies Council (FSC) environmental professionals
British Entomology & Natural History Society
Freshwater Biological Association

The best advice after going on any training course or event? Get involved with wildlife surveys or field meetings straight away, either through the organisation you've just trained with, or a wildlife group local to you. Carry on with the learning and keep those newly acquired field skills honed; we all started out somewhere! 

National recording schemes & surveys:

There are many more than I have listed here, so you could also take a look at the Biological Records Centre website:

Most these groups also have facebook pages with very active online communities, so there are always people to turn to for advice.

And for those of you more local to the Gatwick area, check out these active groups...

Wildlife groups and recording in Sussex:

Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre
Sussex Mammal Group
Sussex Amphibian and Reptile Group
Sussex Bat Group
Sussex Ornithological Society
Sussex Botanical Recording Society
Sussex Moth Group
Butterfly Conservation – Sussex Branch
British Dragonfly Society - Sussex Group
Sussex Sea Search
Forest Row Natural History Group

Sussex & Surrey:

West Weald Fungus Recording Group


Surrey Biodiversity Information Centre
Surrey Mammal group (Facebook page)
Surrey Dormouse Group
Surrey Amphibians and Reptile Group
Surrey Bat Group
Surrey Birding Club
Surrey Botanical Society
Surrey Butterfly Conservation - Surrey & SW London branch
RiverSearch & RiverFly surveys

So there you go! My apologies as if I missed any off - please comment below and I can add to the lists.

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