By Michael Blencowe
Community Wildlife Officer
Have you ever heard a nightingale’s song? Or seen a glow-worm glow? Or watched badgers emerging in the twilight? Or seen purple emperors soaring in the treetops?
In 2016 Sussex Wildlife Trust is giving you the opportunity to get closer to nature and learn more about the wonderful wildlife of Sussex - from birds, bats and butterflies to beetles, bumblebees and bryophytes – with a packed programme of courses.
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 we offer the chance to hear nightingales singing on a summer’s evening, the song of the dawn chorus at sunrise, walk on the South Downs at night looking for the lights of the incredible glow-worm or sit in a Sussex woodland watching badgers emerge from their setts at dusk.
If you’d like to learn more about the fascinating insects found in Sussex we have beginners courses introducing you to our butterflies, moths, dragonflies, beetles and bumblebees. There’s also an event looking for our most impressive butterfly; the purple emperor. We’ll be looking at habitat management for invertebrates at a course at the end of the year.
Those interested in wildlife conservation will want to attend our course on wildlife and the planning process.
Gardeners will be interested in our courses teaching you how to improve your garden for wildlife by creating a wild flower meadow and pond for wildlife. There’s an introduction to the wild flowers of Sussex and botanists may want to improve their knowledge of grasses and bryophytes. We’ll be exploring the incredibleworld of fungi in November
There’s also the opportunity to learn more about our elusive nocturnal mammals. There’s a course on small mammals and others which focus specifically on the enigmatic harvest mouse and hazel dormouse and we’ll be running an evening session to learn about (and listen out for) bats.
Throughout the year wildlife photographer David Plummer leads a series of courses for beginners interested in nature photography or photographers looking to improve their skills.
So take the opportunity to learn more about Sussex wildlife this year or perhaps give the gift of wildlife to a naturalist friend.