Would you like us to run a bespoke course for your own organisation? We can design and run courses to suit your particular needs. Contact us for a quote.
Example bespoke courses
Cumbria Wildlife Trust Meadow Life project
This three-year volunteer training project began in 2013. Ptyxis designed three courses for volunteers involved in surveying sites for the Meadow Life project. The projected aimed to raise the profile of Cumbria's hay meadows. Volunteers were used to survey potential sites of interest and to monitor the condition of important meadow sites.
Two of our courses focussed on survey skills for meadow monitoring including meadow plant identification and monitoring skills such as estimating percentage cover of plant species in quadrats. We began with a two-day introductory course and followed up with a one-day course a few weeks later.
The third course dealt with road verges with important hay meadow type vegetation. Volunteers were required to map the vegetation types on the verges to NVC level. Considering that almost none of the volunteers had any experience with NVC this was ambitious! We devised a simplified method for mapping important meadow-type vegetation on road verges and trained the volunteers in this method.
All three courses were repeated in 2014 and will run again in 2015.
Phase 1 Habitat Survey IKM Consulting Ltd., Grangemouth, Scotland
In 2014 we ran a two-day Introduction to Phase 1 Habitat Survey course for staff at IKM Consulting in Grangemouth. The course was based on our well-established Phase 1 course from our own training programme, but adapted for the particular field sites at Grangemouth.
The course included a mixture of classroom and field-based sessions covering all of the basics thoroughly. Particular attention was given to tricky issues such as distinguishing different types of grassland and separating marsh, fens & marshy grassland.
On day two all of the participants did there own mini-surveys in small groups of part of the one of the field sites.
This course was delivered by our associate Paul Losse and here is some of the feedback from the course:
- "Excellent, patient trainer who accomodated for a wide variety of expertise within the team. The course was informative, yet consise and didn't allow us to get bogged down with species ID." Lyndsey Stuart, Assistant Ecologist.
- "As I had very little prior knowledge I found the course extremely helpful in giving me a baseline to build on. Also highlighted the areas where I require improvement, e.g. plant ID." Sara Toule, Graduate Ecologist.
- "Really good course. Good balance of field & class. All good!" Adrian Taylor, Senior Ecologist.
Saltmarsh Plant Identification, Environment Agency
In 2009 we devised and ran a series of courses on saltmarsh plant ID for Environment Agency staff involved in monitoring saltmarsh vegetation as part of the protocol for Water Framework Directive monitoring. We repeated versions of these course again in 2012 and 2014 and are due to run some more in 2015.
The staff worked on various aspects of the marine and inter-tidal environments. They were mostly not specialists in terrestrial plant indentification, but they usually had good general taxomonic skills from dealing with algae and other organisms.
Two-day 'basic' and one-day 'intermediate' courses were devised and these were delivered at three locations in 2009: North Wales, The Severn and The Solent. The courses were mostly field-based after an initial introductory classroom session. We included quite a bit of field revision on vegetative identification of important, superficially similar-looking species such as Festuca rubra, Juncus gerardii and Puccinellia maritima.
The course pack had specially prepared resources for identifying tricky slatmarsh plants, including:
- A vegetative key to saltmarsh sedges;
- Compare & contrast tables for large, rush-like plants of saltmarshes;
- Compare & contrast tables for Agrostis and Alopecurus species;
- Compare & contrast tables for couches Elytrigia species;
- Resorces for identifying Chenopodium species, Cochlearia species, Limonium species and many more.
Some more feedback on our courses
"Lots of opportunities to ask questions. I feel confident in understanding Phase 1 surveys and mapping after the course and feel that my approach to the survey will be more consistent in future." Catherine Charles, on our 'Introduction to Phase 1 Habitat Survey' course for Econorth Ltd. in 2016
"One of the best ID courses I have been on. The level of detail was just right and presentation style spot on." Andrew Halcro-Johnston, ecologist, Golder Associates, on the 2010 Aquatic Plants course
"Best course I've been on!" David Rice, ecologist, Defence Estates, on our Phase 1 Habitat Survey course 2009
"Thank you for allowing for the varying abilities of the group. Previous plant ID days have left me overwhelmed. But you gave me lots of support." Faye Durkin, ecologist, CES Ltd, on Botany for Professional Surveyors course 2010
"I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed your course! I was walking through the fields to my allotment on Sunday morning and the sheer thrill of realising that I could identify (not recognise!) a lot of the grasses, and knew how to go about identifying the others which I didn’t know was, quite honestly, a revelation. It was the most magical moment!" Charlotte Weightman, RSPB Twite Recovery Project, on Grass Indicators in Flower 2011
"The pre-course pack is excellent, especially if you are completely new to law as a subject." Rosie Jackson, RSPB
"Brilliant 2 days. Lots new learning. Informative, practical, fun, challenging. Excellent learning environment. Great teaching too." Lizzie Maddison, on our 'Introduction to bryophytes' course for the North Pennines AONB Partnership's Wildwatch project in 2014.
"Explained how NVC works in an easy to understand way. Practical exercises highlighted pitfalls & fact that there's no perfect answer sometimes. Really enjoyed constructing floristic tables from own data as made interpreting data much easier than relying on Tablefit. Overall a thorough, well-planned course." Andrew Skinner, on a 'NVC survey' course we devised and ran for RSPB staff and trainees in 2013.
Please note that the dates for the Sphagnum course have been changed to 2nd & 3rd May.
How to Book
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Discounts for multiple bookings (from any combination of courses):
- 1st three places @ full price
- 4th, 5th & 6th places @ 10% discount
- 7th and subsequent places @ 20% discount
QGIS for ecologists (beginners)
Protected Species Law
Distance learning course: Bryophyte Identification
Distance learning course: Sphagnum ID
Oct 2017 to Mar 2018
PTYXIS specialises in detailed botanical surveys, data analysis and habitat management advice, offering affordable and reliable ecological services.