By Michael Blencowe
People and Wildlife Officer
Each year we deliver a packed programme of wildlife themed adult educations courses. We’ve got another packed programme again for this year and all courses are now available for booking online.
Here at Sussex Wildlife Trust we’re very proud of our course programme and from the responses we receive from the public it seems you’re impressed with it too! Almost all our 2017 courses sold out (some very quickly) and hundreds of people learnt about, experienced and enjoyed all aspects of the wildlife of Sussex; everything from slugs to badgers, willow weaving to navigation and fungi to wildlflowers.
Our education courses typically consist of an indoor teaching session followed by a chance to get out ‘in the field’ with an expert and experience some amazing wildlife. There are courses to suit everybody from beginners to amateur naturalists.
For people wanting to just get closer to some of our most amazing species in Sussex we offer the chance to hear nightingales singing on a summer’s evening or the song of the dawn chorus at sunrise. How about a walk on the South Downs at night looking for the lights of the incredible glow-worm, be mesmerised by the churring of the nightjaron a warm heath or sit in a Sussex woodland watching badgers emerge from their setts at dusk.
As always we will be running plenty of courses on wildlife identification. Our popular courses on raptors, butterflies, birdsong, warblers, small mammals, bats, bees, dragonflies, dormice, grasses, moths, owls, fungi and harvest mice are all running again in 2018.
For creative folk there is the opportunity to learn a new skill and courses on botanical illustration and willow basket makingalso return. Renowned photographer David Plummer author of the wonderful wildlife photography book ‘Seven Years of Camera Shake’ shares his skills with us on a series of nature photography courses.
And there’s plenty of new additions to the programme in 2018 too.
Alastair Duncan’s courses on connecting and understanding the natural environment were popular in 2017 and his Wyrd Ways and Wild Ways return in 2018. This year Alastair will also be teaching us about Mindfulness in Nature; training your mind to build awareness of your surroundings.
David Plummer will be sharing his tips of blending in to your surroundings in a new course on Field Craft. David’s superb photography relies on him getting closer to nature, while still respecting and not disturbing the wildlife he is photographing. He’ll be sharing his skills and tips of field signs, camouflage and other topics in this course.
This year we welcome new tutor Kym Murden. Kym will be teaching a new course on Herbal Medicine looking how common herbs which can be found in the garden or countryside can be used as natural cures. Making sure your garden is attractive to wildlife is the theme of a new Wildlife gardening course being taught in a beautiful garden in Adversane. And after you’ve enjoyed the herbs and butterflies in your garden why not put away the strimmer and learn the art of scything. Mark Allery has been teaching scything for many years across Sussex and he’ll be showing us the skills needed to keep your garden managed in the traditional way.
Of course there’s plenty of new courses focussed on wildlife identification. Once again we’ve invited Martin Harvey down to Sussex and this time he’ll be teaching us about the amazing world of the flies. It’s selling fast though! Ralph Hobbs will be exploring the meadows of the Seven Sisters Country Park looking for grasshoppers and crickets and Graeme Lyons will be in West Sussex looking at the Invertebrates of Chalk Grassland on our Levin Down reserve. Graeme will also be teaching us about the spiders of Sussex at a special course on our Iping Common reserve – a site famous for its arachnids.
So there’s plenty of opportunities to learn more about Sussex wildlife this year. Visit our What's On webpages for a full list of wildlife events and courses in 2018.