UK Natural History Training

There has never been a greater need to document, monitor and understand changes in the UK's wildlife.

Yet the number of people with the skills to survey and accurately identify species, handle and preserve reference specimens, and share their skills with others is declining.

The Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity is developing a range of training offers to help you build your skills in identifying and recording UK wildlife.

Our training programme

Introduction to UK Natural History

This five-week online course will introduce some of the fundamental principles and practices of modern amateur natural history, helping you get started in your own studies in natural history. 

The course includes the following modules:

  • Week 1 – Introduction to UK Natural History
  • Week 2 – Introduction to UK Botany
  • Week 3 – Introduction to UK Entomology
  • Week 4 – Introduction to UK Geology and Palaeontology
  • Week 5 – Developing your skills in UK Natural History

Most of the course content will be delivered by a combination of pre-recorded lectures, talks, demonstrations, and activities which you can look at at any time during the course. These should take you two to three hours per week, although there will be some optional extension work which may take you longer to work through. 

Additionally, each week there will be two live seminars which you will be invited to attend:

  • One on Mondays at 6:30pm to introduce the forthcoming week's work.
  • One on Thursdays over lunch at 12:30pm as a Q&A session to discuss that week's content.

With small course cohorts of 12-15 participants, we are hoping for some lively and useful discussions! 

For the duration of the course you will be asked to keep a Naturalists Journal, a copy of which should be submitted electronically at the end of the course, along with details of biological records submitted to an appropriate national or local recording scheme.

Course requirements

To take part, you’ll need to be:

  • 18 or older.
  • Have access to a laptop or computer with WiFi so you can get to the course content (no special software is needed for any part of the course and you’ll get your login details for our course page when you sign up).

At the end of the course, and on successful completion of the Naturalists Journal task, you will be sent a Natural History Museum Level 1 Certificate in UK Natural History.

Course fees

The full course fee for the five-week Introduction to UK Natural History course is normally £125 (inclusive of VAT). 

We are pleased to offer subsidised places of £62.50 to participants who are either members of A Focus on Nature, or people who are active volunteers with a relevant UK nature conservation charity, for example with a Wildlife Trust, natural history society or museum.

If you are unsure if you are eligible for the subsidised rate, please email us.

Course starting dates

Our course starting on the 27 September is now fully booked. If you would like to be added to the waiting list in case a place becomes available please email us.

The course will next run in Spring 2022. Please do check back to book onto this course.


Coming soon

Developing Skills in UK Natural History

Following on from the introductory course, during 2021-22 we will be developing and testing a programme of training courses which will help you to build your skills in UK Natural History. Some of these you will be able to take as stand-alone modules, targeting particular species groups, however there will also be the opportunity to combine modules across this programme to achieve a Natural History Museum Level 2 Certificate in UK Natural History Skills.

More information on these courses will be available in Spring 2022.

Online training portal

If you are enrolled on one of our workshops, you will find information relating to your course, including expansion material, on our online training platform. To log in click here.

For more information about training, please email us.


Identification Trainers for the Future

Read about our 2014-2018 lottery-funded training programme and its legacy.

Digital nature journal

Whatever you've seen, our digital nature journal gives you a free and easy way to keep track of it all.