Updated: Feb 7
What a year! 2021 has been a very difficult year for everyone, personally, professionally and emotionally and we hope that you all have managed to recover from it and are now enjoying the outdoors again with your family and friends. Here at Biodiversity and Environmental Education Society (BEES) we decided to go ahead with the first nature guide training course programme in the UK. After almost a year of the BEE a Nature Guide course programme, it is time to share with you all what we have done so far.
So, what did we actually do in 2021?
We launched the programme in January with 11 of you in Suffolk and 15 of you in Norfolk. Yes, it has been challenging but what an amazing journey it has been so far! Learning about wildlife and our natural heritage from our expert teachers (find out more about the course here). Learning about ecosystems and the interrelationships between species, discovering or rediscovering the diversity of our British birds, mammals, insects, amphibians and reptiles, and finding out the intrinsic link between rabbits and parsnips are just a glimpse of what we learned during the first six months of 2021. But this was just the beginning of a great journey with so much more to come and discover about our natural heritage.
Most of all, what a treat to meet and get to know our very first participants, coming from different backgrounds but all like-minded and with a common interest in learning, protecting and sharing with others nature’ secrets and what our natural world has to offer to all of us.
The theoretical element of our course programme is run on Moodle, our online learning platform. A great place for sharing thoughts, ideas, or course handbooks, for our live online sessions and for keeping the recordings of the online lectures. We had to be creative during the lockdown and sent boxes with soil samples and a pH kit for instance they used during the online practical session of soil science.
As restrictions were lifted, we finally met in-person and resumed the outdoor activities, visiting various natural sites being looked after by the Wildlife Trusts, RSPB or Country Parks in both Suffolk and Norfolk.
Hearing positive feedback from our participants has helped the team to keep going in these strange times:
“…I have managed to get to them (sessions) all so far and have found them great!” C.C
“…the course has been amazing and inspirational…” D.H
“…a huge thank you for organising an outstanding day yesterday…It was such a treat on so many levels but the main one was to be able to meet up in person so that we could all share our passion, enthusiasm and joy for the natural world. Such a friendly and open bunch of people - a real tonic to the soul after the last year. Thank you for bringing us together…” L.C
“Just to say how much we enjoyed yesterday's field trip at the Blickling Estate and thank you so much for the great packs Lee gave us. The booklets are fantastic and such a help. ...We are very grateful for your input, for us it's the start of a journey. A humble thank you for all your amazing work!” I.M
“I just wanted to tell you how excellent the BEES programme is and the level of organisation is outstanding. Thank you to you, Lee and all the team for your hard work.” L.C
Interested in the course?
Feel free to register your interest by filling out our online form here. Please accept our apologies if you have already filled out the form and haven’t heard from us just yet. Our small team is working hard on the ongoing course programme we are running in Suffolk and Norfolk and are struggling to keep up at the moment! But we are grateful to have found two new volunteers to help us with our course operations.
At present, we are focussing on firmly establishing the course in Suffolk and Norfolk before we look to expand to new regions. But, it has always been our intention to grow and cover the whole of the UK. So stay in touch and look out for our future developments, we might be running the BEE a Nature Guide training course in your area in the not too distant future.
Our next sessions in Suffolk and Norfolk are planned for 2022 but at the time of writing, we cannot give you a starting date for 2022. Because of the pandemic, the first year of our first training course programme has had to be extended over the beginning of next year, which will impact the start of the second course sessions. But we will keep our subscribers informed by email as well as on our blog in the coming months. If you are still interested in registering on the course by that time, we will provide you with booking details to finalise your place on the next course.
How to get involved and help us out?
Finally, if you are passionate about nature and would like to dedicate some spare time for a good cause, we are still looking for volunteers to increase our team and help us with the outdoor activities and day-to-day running of the charity. Please get in touch with us. We would love to hear from you.
Every little helps
We are all volunteers and make no profit from the BEE a Nature Guide training course. In fact, the course costs more to run than we charge our participants for attending. We made this decision to ensure that the course remains as financially accessible as possible. As such we rely on donations and other sources of funding to help cover the cost of providing the course.
If you like what we are doing and would like to support us from where you are, please make a donation here:
Every contribution will help us to carry on providing a high quality training course. Your donations could help to pay for the following:
Production of course handbooks - these are designed, printed and bound in-house in order to keep costs, and our carbon footprint, as low as possible
Cost of visiting wildlife sites - many of our outdoor practical sessions take place on land managed by other great organisations such as the Wildlife Trusts or RSPB. Making use of these fantastic sites for our course usually involves paying a fee or making a donation to those organisations
Equipment costs - to ensure participants get the most out of our sessions we purchase additional resources, such as identification guides, pond dipping/surveying equipment, digital microscopes, binoculars and hand lenses
First aid training - our first aid course is provided by an external certified first aid training provider, who charge us for this service
We would like to finish by saying: A big thank you to our partners, teachers, participants, volunteers and followers for making this journey all worth it.
Keep on enjoying the outdoors and learning about nature.
HaBEE day to you all and have a festive season.
Anneloes and the BEES Team.