Corona and courses don’t mix!

As I write this on 18th March 2020 the government, due to Corona virus Covid-19, are about to close schools, ban essential travel and possibly put us into lock-down! It makes sense, we all know that, but the reality won’t really hit us until it actually happens. Life will become even more restricted!!

Image result for hand washing australia

Most of our courses here at Ecology Training UK are field-based and at the moment we are probably going to have to cancel field courses in March and April with uncertainty for May and June. Hopefully by the autumn we may be able to run courses normally again. But we are looking at alternatives!

We will be gradually contacting students over the next few days and weeks to offer alternatives. At the moment we are preparing to deliver the ‘classroom’ bit of our courses via webinar with the field element happening when restrictions allow, possibly in late summer or early autumn. That way people can still start to gain skills and knowledge and would have something to do in this ‘quiet’ period.

We also have a range of online courses already available and we are constantly working on new ones coming online – so if you are in lock-down – get learning!

The webinars will be more interactive and so you can ask questions and we can share knowledge and tips with you, recommend further reading and study and suggest ways to implement your learning with practice.

Keep safe, keep washing your hands, keep isolated where possible!

One good thing about all this is that the wildlife will get some peace and quiet so they will have a great spring summer!

Image result for happy wildlife
Picture courtesy of Polhill Garden Centre

bat course, ecology training, ecology courses

Going ‘Batty’ – spring training courses for bat workers

In February Ecology Training UK is running 3 courses that might be of interest to anyone who already has some bat experience and wants to learn even more!


3rd February – How to write an EPSL for bats (your tutor Sue Searle, has written over 70 EPSLs in her career and will share some tips and take you through the process). Devon


4th February – Getting to know the planning system – every wondered how the planning system works and what the ecologist’s role is within it? Then join us for this interesting course. Devon


10th February – Surveying trees for bats – learn all the terms and techniques for surveying trees and try out your new skills with a field visit. Devon


17th February – Bats and Developments – learn about bat mitigation techniques for various species. Devon


Go to our Courses section and book your courses there. https://ecologytraining.co.uk/book-a-course/

Acorn Ecology botany grass course

2020 Courses Launched!

2020 is going to be a busy year for Ecology Training UK! Over 50 short courses are in the pipeline and many of them are online ready to be booked! New courses this year include Beaver Ecology and Surveying with a field trip to see beaver signs and a beaver watch on the River Otter, home to some of Britain’s only truly wild beavers!

Other favourites include ecology and surveying courses for great crested newts, water voles, otters, badgers, reptiles, dormice, bats and birds. ID courses include beginners botany, grass ID and tree ID as well as birds. We also have Phase 1 habitat mapping and Preliminary Ecological Appraisal on offer.

More advanced courses about mitigation and licensing include badgers, dormice, great crested newts and bats plus a one-day course on how to write an EPSL for bats and one on Getting to Know the Planning System.

And if you feel like communing with nature in a lovely woodland for a day then why not join us for Bushcraft and Forest Survival Skills! Learn how to make fire, filter water and make a basic shelter.

So as you can see there is something for everyone! Book NOW to avoid disappointment, these courses will fill FAST! It’s easy to book, just click on Courses, choose your course, pay and voila! you are booked!

Click here to see the 2020 courses list.

Congratulations!

Congratulations to our newest Certificate in Ecological Consultancy Graduates! The exam and graduation day yesterday was a great event and everyone passed their exam! Certificates were handed out in the afternoon to cheers and whistles! Five students gained Distinction for their marked assignments and Edward Lim was awarded Student of the Year with the highest overall marks of all the students including 99% in the exam. Well done Ed!

After 8 months of assignments, field courses, self-study courses and the exam the Certificate in Ecological Consultancy 2019 is finally completed! It has been hard work for everyone but they have all gained a huge amount of new skills, knowledge and confidence. Well done everyone!

Acorn Ecology Online Course

Online Ecology Courses

Winter is here and the field courses are over for another year. That doesn’t mean you have to stop learning! Winter is a great time to tackle your background and baseline knowledge of ecology. Get yourself ready for next survey season with some of these titles.

Acorn Ecology Online CourseWhy do an online course?

Online courses are all the rage at the moment. You can study from the comfort of your own home, at your own speed. Sounds good! But with so many courses out there, you need to be sure you are getting a good one.

Why chose an Ecology Training UK Online Course?

Our courses are written by professional ecologists who have been working in the field of ecology and can draw on their experiences. Their experiences provide the quality course content you expect from Ecology Training UK and it all aims to help you with your field work.

About our coursesecology online courses

We have a range of online courses, which are great if you are starting a career in ecological consultancy or conservation, or if you just need to brush up on a few topics. Each course has a number of modules and a quiz to help you consolidate what you have learned. Complete the quiz and send it back for marking and your certificate. It’s as easy at that.

So, stave off the winter blues by learning to tell Japanese knotweed from Himalayan balsam; how to manage woodland; the basics of population ecology or even why stoats are “stoataly different” from weasels! Treat yourself to an Ecology Training UK Online Course today!

Our course titles are:

Habitat Management (6 modules)

Habitat Restoration (6 modules)

Introduction to Ecology (10 modules)

Invasive Species (9 modules)

Mammal ID (3 modules)

Reptile and Amphibian ID (3 modules)

Click on the links above to get more information about each course.

We’re working on some new courses. Sign up to our newsletter to hear about them as soon as they are available!

Some testimonials from our online courses:

“I absolutely loved this course and am looking forward to doing some further courses!”

“Very good introductory course to learn general ecology ready for Certificate course”

“The course content was excellent and the topics covered were very informative. Anyone wishing to gain a better understanding of ecology would benefit immensely from taking this course. I would highly recommend it!”

“A thought provoking and enjoyable course.”

“I found this course a great introduction to habitat management; the skills needed and the numerous organisations involved in conservation”

I really enjoyed this course. Good value for money. After studying Module 2 I had the confidence to volunteer for three different flora/fauna surveys which is good experience and an opportunity to contribute.”

“This course has given me a good grounding in the theory of practical habitat management. It has allowed me to build on what I already knew and has encouraged me to continue learning about the topic”

botany course

Time to Review

How to Become an Ecological ConsultantAt the start of this season we posted a blog about setting your goals for 2017. In fact, it’s such an important subject, we wrote two! The first blog gave you suggestions on what you could do over a summer to improve your skills. The second encouraged you to set your goals, both short term and long term, with an extract from Sue’s book – How to Become an Ecological Consultant.

But here’s the thing. Setting goals isn’t difficult. Reviewing them and measuring progress is a lot harder. So now that we’re well into November and the survey season is feeling like a distant memory, it’s time to review your goals.

 

Dig out that “to do” list. How did you get on with your short-term goals? Did you attend the training courses? Did you join those groups? Can you ID your target number of plant species?

If you did, then well done! If not, then don’t despair, you won’t be alone in this. Either way, you still need to review your plan.

Here’s how to review:

  1. Work out what did and didn’t happen on your list. Add anything you achieved that wasn’t on there (an extra training session you attended, or a last-minute conference).
  2. Look at what’s left on your list of goals and check they are still relevant. You need to be flexible. Maybe you discovered a passion for bats and you now want to become a bat specialist! Keep the central points of your plan the same, but don’t be afraid to change the details.
  3. How hard were these goals to achieve? A bit easy? Make next year more challenging. Too hard and you only managed half of them? Don’t get dispirited, make next year more achievable.
  4. What did you cover? Have you become an expert in dormice, but only learnt a dozen new plants all year? Spend some time working out why and what you can do to fix this imbalance next year. Even dormouse experts need botany!

Write up your goals for 2018. Learn from your achievements this year and go forward. Stick with the SMART method of goal setting.

S – Specificdormouse, ecology training

M – Measurable

A – Attainable

R – Relevant

T – Time-bound

Remember to set goals that are enjoyable! Have fun, keep learning and remember to review regularly to stay on track.

Sue Searle Acorn EcologyWhat could you do differently next year? Boost those skills with an Acorn Ecology course. We have introductory courses on a wide range of ecological topic, advanced courses on protected species and development and online courses too!

If you’re not sure what course is right for you, get in touch with our friendly staff on training@acornecology.co.uk, or give our Exeter office a call on 01392 366512 for some advice.

 

Pipstrelle bat sound analysis

Bat Sound Analysis

What is bat sound analysis?

On every bat survey a detector is used that will record the calls of passing bats. This can be during an emergence survey, to confirm the species of the emerging bat, or during an activity survey, or very often as a static detector, which will record all bat passes over a number of nights. The data is not stored as sound files, such as you might hear through a heterodyne detector, but in a way that produce sonograms. A sonogram is a representation of a sound on a graph.

Each species produces different sounds and all look different when on a graph. Sometimes these differences are extreme, sometimes very subtle. Bat Sound Analysis is the process of looking through these data and seeing what species are on site.

Here at Acorn Ecology we use the software Analook. This is software that is used by many consultancies.

Why learn bat sound analysis?

Much of your time as a Trainee or Assistant Ecologist (and beyond) will be spent analysing sonograms of bats from your survey sites. There can be as many as 3000+ sound files recorded in one night, by one static detector. Multiply this up so that you have two or three detectors on site, for five nights at a time. Then put these out on site on a monthly basis throughout the summer and you suddenly have a LOT of sound files – and that’s just one site! Having the skill to analyse them is a real advantage in what is a very competitive job market.

What do these files look like?

Pipstrelle bat sound analysisHere’s a couple of examples: Pipistrelles at the top, and greater horseshoe below.

GHS bat sound analysis

So if you want to be able to tell your Myotis from your barbastelles, and your horseshoes from your noctules, come on the Acorn Ecology Introduction to Sound Analysis Course!

This course will teach you how to get started with Analook, one of the most common pieces of software. (The fundamentals of the course are easily transferrable to other software packages too).

The course covers:

  • How bats use sound
  • An introduction to using Analook
  • Recognising typical UK bat species sonograms
  • Produce statistics for your report
  • Practice sessions on your own laptop

Much of the course is a practical workshop. We want you to go away feeling confident in your identification skills!

We have expanded this course and we now run a second day, Bat Survey Data: Analysis and Presentation. This course will teach you how to present your data in reports and analyse how bats are using your site. It usually runs the following day from the bat sound analysis course.

Give us a call on 01392 366512 or visit www.ecologytraining.co.uk today for more information.

reptile course

Set Your Goals For This Year!

What do you want to achieve this year? Here are a few tips on what you can do if you are just starting out in the world of ecology.

You could book onto our Certificate in Ecological Consultancy Course. We look forward to welcoming this year’s students to their core week in April, where they will start by learning about phase 1 habitat surveys, protected species surveys and report writing.

This year, as usual, we will be following the progress of our students in our blogs and photos, in which they will share their experiences of making their first footsteps into the world of ecology.

Are you just starting out as an ecologist? What can you do to get that all important practical experience? Now is the time to start thinking about what you need to do. Why not sit down and make a plan. Write a list of what you want to achieve this year; pinpoint your weaknesses; formulate a plan of how you can reach your goals. Here are a few tips:

Join your local wildlife groups

There is a wealth of experience and knowledge in local wildlife groups. Look up your county bat group, mammal group or bird group. You may also have botany or reptile groups in your area. Get in touch and see what they do. From talks to field trips and days out they can help you build up your knowledge.

Volunteerbotany course

As well as going to events organised by local groups, why not see if there is a volunteering scheme? The Wildlife Trusts, The National Trust, RSPB and other organisations often run outdoor volunteering groups. These can help you with habitat management and species identification, while giving something back to your community.

Study

It’s early yet, but as the year progresses get a plant ID book and go and identify everything you can! It’s daunting, but the more work you put in, the better you will get. Until it warms up a bit outside, why not go to your local library and see what books they have? There are loads of great books written about British wildlife.

Why not check out our bookshop.

Take a course

Where can you find great courses about ecology? Here of course! We have a range of short courses and longer online courses to help you fill in the gaps in your knowledge and experience. Whether you need to learn about protected species surveys, dormouse ecology or bat surveys, we can help. Look at our selection online or get in touch with us if you’d like to know more.

Good luck. We hope to see you on a course with us soon.