This is the third year that London Wildlife Trust have been able to fund a traineeship scheme in environmental conservation, and for two days in June they agree to be indoctrinated in entomology.
The theme is the familiar one — How to be a curious entomologist. In practice this means learning how to go out and find insects, look at them closely, then collect sample specimens for later identification. The simple act of making a small insect collection is fascinating, fun, and yet still scientifically worthwhile.
First find your insects, and this year’s habitat of choice is the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve in Lewisham. Unlike last year, when the monsoon came, the weather was perfect; comfortable for both insects and entomologists alike.
Devonshire Road has a classroom, easily converted to a laboratory, and a walk in the woods can now settle down to take on a scientific air.
As usual everything looks amazing down the microscope, but the importance of an insect collection is not aesthetic, it is scientific, and many of the finds are unusual.
After several years of running London Wildlife Trust trainee courses, and similar one-day events for all-comers, the Devonshire Road insect collection is starting to look good.
For some of the back story to the workshops, go to this previous blog entry from the workshop at Beckenham Place Park in 2016, and the original workshops in 2012. There are links onwards to further workshop reports, links on making and curating insect collections and other entomological websites.
There will be more entomologists at Devonshire Road later in the year — 22 and 23 July. At the time of writing there are still places available on both days.