Friday, 11 April 2014

Botany for Beginners: time to book!

The flyer for this year's Botany for Beginners course is now available on the Botanic Garden website. You can check the dates of each module's tuition, field and herbarium sessions (they are also on the VC55 calendar here) and also see which habitats are covered. And decide whether this might be the right course for you?

'Trees' session at Attenborough Arboretum
Image: R. Parry
Last year, when the course started, I wasn't sure how many species we would actually be able to see during the five modules. There are 465 taxa on the target list - plants that occur in VC55 and are at least occasional (no hard-to-ID rarities) - so last year's flyer played safe and guaranteed all participants that they would see at least 100 different plants over the five modules. We actually saw more than 300, so this year's flyer reflects that. 

Some plant characters are best seen by microscope
Image: L. Marsh
The course is designed for beginners - especially Absolute Beginners who have never tried to identify wild plants before - and aims to show you how to recognise our local plants, understand where they grow in VC55 and remember what separates them from every other plant in the book. Puns and awful word play may be used here! 

Last year's students groaned at the "devil's horns" that distinguish a certain grass, or the delicate wildflower whose partial resemblance to a dog's private parts will help you tell it apart from its fellows. But I bet the students still remember how to ID those plants! 

'Weeds' session at the Botanic Garden
Image: L. Marsh
By the end of the course, you should have a real grounding in the plants of Leicestershire & Rutland, and be skilled enough to carry out plant surveys and identify the criterion plant species needed to designate a site as a Local Wildlife Site. Or be able to join ecological consultants and University of Leicester undergraduates on our popular Plant ID course for intermediate-level botanists. Or just get more enjoyment from local wild plants!

Check out the flyer here and contact me to enquire about booking a space.

Posted by Louise

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