By Michael Blencowe
Senior Learning and Engagement Officer
Sussex Wildlife Trust is the leading provider of environmental education courses in Sussex and each year we organise a packed programme of almost 100 courses. The courses are taught at locations across the county with many based at our Woods Mill education centre and nature reserve in the centre of Sussex.
2020 is going to be another exciting year and we have a wide range of courses from Beetles and basket-making to hedge-laying and Hedgehogs.
Whether learning for career development, starting a new hobby or just looking for an interesting and enjoyable day out in Sussex we have plenty to offer.
There are plenty of courses teaching you more about the amazing wildlife that can be found in the county. There are special opportunities to watch Badgers emerging from their setts at dusk (23,27,29 April, 6,11 May and 8,10,15 June) on our ‘An Evening with Badgers’ course. There’s the chance to learn more about other Sussex mammals too including Small Mammals(24 April), Bats (16 May), Hazel Dormouse (7 August) and Harvest Mouse (26 September). In 2020 we have added new courses looking at the lives of Hedgehogs (10 August) and Water Voles (24 September).
The fascinating world of insects and other invertebrates is explored in courses on Beetles (22 May), Bees (6 June), Stag Beetles (16 June), Spiders (19 June), Dragonflies (27 June), Glow-worms (3 July), Butterflies (4 July), Moths (4 July), True Bugs (7 August) and Molluscs (21 August).
We’ll be running our popular 5-month ‘Introduction to Birds and Birdwatching’ (starting 21 January) but there are other opportunities to learn more about the county’s diverse birdlife in a series of other courses too. Find out more about Birds of Farmland (1 April), Birdsong (17 April), Birds of Woodland (20 April), Birds of Heathland (8 May), Nightingales (18 May), Warblers (20 May), Nightjars (12 June), Owls (6,9,14,16 September and 7 November), Birds of the Coast (16 September), Raptors (13 October), Waders (16 & 23 October) and Gulls (4 December).
Sussex Wildlife Trust also runs many practical courses giving you the chance to learn a new skill. The programme starts on 29 February with a day learning all about coppicing in woodlands. There are also courses on Willow basket making (7/14 March), Scything (25 July), Whittling (1 August), Hedge-laying (7 November) and Green Woodworking (5 December).
Photographers will want to learn how to get some great nature pictures on our special 20 day courses with wildlife photography expert David Plummer (18 & 19 April, 13 & 14 June and 26 & 27 September). Our Mindfulness courses always prove popular and Alistair Duncan uses the ancient woodland at Woods Mill as the venue to help you relax in nature (30 May & 11 July).
I say this every year but our courses are becoming more and more popular and many become fully booked very quickly. We try our best to add extra dates if we have the capacity but this is not always possible. So, my advice is don’t leave it too late to book! I look forward to seeing you on our courses in the coming year. Make 2020 the year when you get closer to nature!