Hertfordshire Natural History Society

Sat 04 Mar 2017 (9.30 for 10am to 4pm)

A one day training course for volunteers on Saturday 4 March - full programme below. 

The Hertfordshire Mammal, Amphibian and Reptile Atlas project (Herts MARA) has entered its third momentous year and already received thousands of records. But we need more volunteers to look out for mammals, amphibians and reptiles across the county and record sightings. This introductory training course is perfect for anyone with a general interest in natural history who would like to improve their identification and recording skills so they can make a more confident and systematic contribution to the survey.

The day-long training takes place on Saturday 4 March 2017 at the University of Hertfordshire's Field Station at Bayfordbury outside Hertford. During the course you will learn how to identify all of the species you are likely to encounter in Hertfordshire. The MARA team leaders will also introduce you to simple survey techniques that you can employ yourself, as well as more advanced ones for those interested in becoming even more involved.  ​You will also learn how to submit records with the details required, including accurate grid references.

The facilitators for the training day are: Dr Jenny Jones (County recorder for mammals, amphibians and reptiles and Ecological Consultant), Dr Chantal Helm (Senior Lecturer in Ecology), David Willis (Chair of the Hertfordshire Amphibian and Reptile Group, Herts ARG) and Ian Flack (Herts ARG and University of Hertfordshire).

The charge for taking part is only £10, but participants will be expected to 'adopt' at least two survey tetrads (2km squares) and submit as many records as possible for them, as well as incidental records from other parts of the county. Places are limited so early booking is recommended.

To reserve and pay for your place on the training day, choose the number of places from the drop down menu at the foot of the page and add the name(s) of those attending, click the link to pay with your credit or debit card via PayPal (you do not need a PayPal account to do this). You will receive an acknowledgement and further details by email.

Alternatively please send your name(s), address and email address with a cheque for £10 payable to Hertfordshire Natural History Society to HNHS Secretary, 250 Sandridge Road, St Albans, AL1 4AL .

Number of places
Name(s) of those attending

Read more about Hertfordshire's mammals here and amphibians and reptiles here

Programme for Saturday 4 March
Venue: Bayfordbury Field Station, University of Hertfordshire, Lower Hatfield Road, near Hertford SG13 8LD

Arrive from 9:30 am, the programme starts at 10am with an expected finish of 4.00pm.

People attending the day will be allocated two survey tetrads (2 x 2 km squares) to contribute to the Hertfordshire Natural History Society Atlas Project. The countywide survey aims to survey all the tetrads across Hertfordshire over the next 5 years to establish the current status of mammals, amphibians and reptiles in Hertfordshire.

The morning session will consist of indoor presentations to help with the identification of mammals, amphibians and reptiles including signs. These classroom sessions will cover all the mammals, amphibians and reptiles seen in Hertfordshire, but due to time constraints it will not include detail on bat species identification.

The presentations will include training materials such as: stuffed specimens, flat skins, skulls, limb bones and signs such as nuts eaten by dormice and harvest mouse nests. There may also be some live animals to see.

After lunch we will start with a computer session to demonstrate record submission and allocation of tetrads. Participants will have a chance to explore the demonstration material and take part in a quiz to test their ID skills.

Weather permitting, this session will be followed by an outdoor practical session within the grounds of Bayfordbury to conduct an artificial refugia search and a visit to a badger sett, looking for tracks and signs during the walk. In the event of bad weather the outdoor session will be shortened with demonstrations of field techniques/recording methods held indoors.

Coffee, tea and biscuits will be provided during the break and at lunch, but you will need to bring a packed lunch. For the outdoor session, please bring suitable footwear (these will need to be removed before re-entering the building so a separate pair of shoes may be useful) and weatherproof clothing.

The contact for the day will be Dr Chantal Helm on 07896 310075.

Organised by: Hertfordshire Natural History Society