Wildlife Identification Skills
Judith Allinson CEL’s Web Editor writes:
I would encourage CEL members to learn more about some aspect of Wildlife:
Try Flowers – or Bees – or Freshwater biology – Or Beetles – or Lichens – or Dragonflies. This time of year is good for fungi.
You can go on courses at the Field Studies council in 17 Centres throughout UK
If you are not well off but are a student it is worth enquiring about bursaries
Or go out with your local natural history society. They welcome new members.
There is a list of Natural History Societies in Yorkshire here – You’ll have to do a web search for other counties
Perhaps you could encourage someone for your local natural history society to come and give a talk to a church group. Recently I gave a talk to Clapham Age UK group (Clapham N Yorks) . The talk turned out well:
They were fascinated to see how beautiful lichens look under an illuminated lens. They were duly impressed when I showed them the flourescent green “Map Lichen” which grows on slate rocks three miles from Clapham – this lichen has been sent up on a Russian sputnik and held outside the capsule in space, subjected to cold temperatures, high radiation from the sun and a vacuum – yet on returning to earth it was able to continue grow.
I also showed them slides of local flowers. I was impressed how the ladies nearly all knew the names of the flowers – even all the names of those that three of four different names such as Cuckoo Pint (Wild Arum, Lords and Ladies, Jack in the Pulpit). They were so pleased to tell me the names of the flowers that they had learned as a child, it was touching. I thought “How many 20 and 30 year olds would know the names?”. I also realised the importance of talking to people about things that they know, and especially, listening to them.
If any of you have “Good News” stories about churches or Christians helping children and other people learn about plants (or beetles or fungi for that matter) do let me know. I was delighted to hear about the “Church Goes Wild” events at Hurst Green in Lancashire where they have run events on Flowers, geology, lichens and a host of other topics for children and families.
It DOES take time to get to learn to identify a group of organisms. Perhaps learning identification is a good candidate for the SLOW movement. But it is worth it. I find my walks become so enriched when I can stop and say “Hello Map lichen” , “Hello Cuckoo pint” as I go past, or if looking for edible plants “Hello Ground elder” or “Hello St George’s Mushroom.”