Friday, 20 May 2016

Update for May

And then I remembered I had a blog...

Conservation diploma is almost over with just a few more assignments left. Going back up to Scotland in June (interesting how I also went back June of last year) but this time it'll be for a week as part of an upland ecology field trip. Very much looking forward to that and I'll be uploading photos here. The itinerary looks great. I'll also be the only Scotsman in the group. So special.

I've just been tidying a few things up, getting the last bits of work done, going out to a few woods and learning a lot. In the past few days ecological/evolutionary simulations have taken my interest and I found out about the old SimLife game. Never knew anything like that existed. Plant evolution is definitely a budding interesting of mine, it seems. Oh, no... "Budding". Sorry.

Looking forward to the summer. I think I've done about 60 assignments over 2 years. If all goes according to plan I should start the BSc in September.


Sunday, 14 February 2016

Quick Update: February 2016

Still chugging away at year 2 of the old conservation diploma. Finished my 2nd work placement at Avon Heath. Coming to the end of the course as I believe there's only maybe 12 teaching weeks left, possibly fewer. Nothing remarkable in terms of college at the minute, but finished the freshwater and coastal units. Still on the chainsaw, greenwood crafts, deer ecology and management, and a few others. I was going to take the environmental interpretation unit however I decided just to switch it out for livestock management. Looking forward to the ecological concepts and applications unit which should be starting soon. What else? Nope. Mostly just coursework. Oh, after having dropped the Ecology of Plants book I've picked it up again and slowly mlaking my way through a sea of formulas and BSc/MSc wordage.

Well, spent a lot of time in the New Forest the past few weeks and generally watching a lot of good documentaries, mostly Attenborough. Went to revisit Langley Wood NNR today, without thinking how early it is for wildflowers yet. Give me AWIs! One good thing is that it reminded me that for some reason I never got my own Francis Rose so I just bought one today. Probably a good idea to finally buy the industry standard on pant I.D, eh?

Friday, 11 December 2015

Year 2 So Far

Hello all. I haven't posted in a while as I've been busy working away at year 2 coursework. Units I'm currently taking are the management of fresh water, coastal and farm habitats. Also doing units on deer management, livestock, chainsaw (CS30) and greenwood crafts. After Christmas I believe we'll be starting the ecological applications unit I'm looking forward to, as well as environmental interpretation and urban habitat ecology. 

Some highlights: haven't done much practical work but we have spent a lot more time outdoors already for the various units, such as undertaking a River Habitat Survey at Stockbridge Marsh. Went to a talk as part of the course from the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust on their Waders for Real project. The chainsaw unit is going pretty good and I've surprised myself if I'm being honest, since I never thought I could wield one without chopping off an extremity. Got to wrestle some Wiltshire horn recently as part of the livestock unit. Also slowly getting back into woodcraft since it's part of the course, which is good as I pretty much put that on halt. So far the year has gone alright and grades are consistent with last year. Hoping to aim for  D* at the end of everything. 

At the start of January I'll be doing my second work placement, this time a bit closer to home at Avon Heath Country Park. 

I've applied for ecology at Bournemouth uni, but the likelihood is I'll be doing the degree at Sparsholt which is fine by me. There's just a lot of pros and cons to weigh up. 



Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Year 2

Hello, all.

I've been busy as I'm on year 2 of my conservation diploma. I believe it's week 4 so far. Already completed 2 large survey report assignments, one on coastal habitat characteristics (shingle and saltmarsh), and the other a detailed look at the college's lake (lentic ecology, habitat characteristics, chemical composition, and so forth). Currently working on a report on changes to the agricultural landscape, discussing policies and impacts.

Been out to Studland twice now, looking at a range of coastal habitats and doing some walk-up and NVC surveys. Also went to Hayling Island for the coastal unit.

Going well so far, I think. Got my second work placement already sorted out for January, ahead on assignments and also written my personal statement for degree ahead of schedule and almost finished application.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Quick Update for August

Plant Ecology book arrived recently. It's pretty colossal and has plant ecology covered. 540 pages of in-depth plant ecology, covering individual physiological stresses to community distribution, to global ecological patterns, paleoecology, climate change and so forth. Will take some time to read, but looks very in-depth. Quite a lot of the subjects I already understand, but this goes into degree level detail, which is good, especially with statistical analysis and formulae. I'm sure I'll struggle with the formulas as I find basic math difficult and most likely has dycalculia, but I'll slowly get my head around it I hope. 

I've also become increasingly interested in the age of enlightenment and voyages of scientific discovery as I'm just fascinated and inspired by the very idea of discovering new land and with it new fauna and flora especially. Become very interested in the Scottish botanist Robert Brown, spending a good while reading about his life and work and some of his early papers,

Another thing I've been doing. So regrettably I never took biology or chemistry or any other science at school for that matter, instead spending my time on useless computer skills... However, I've just acquired a very entry level microscope and I have to say I'm thoroughly enjoying seeing the structures about which I've been reading up close and personal. Even though it's a very weak digital microscope and more akin to just a macro zoom on a camera, I'm just fascinated by it. Geranium robertianum here showing stigma and stamen.

I'm also continuing with drawing and will post here soon.



Monday, 20 July 2015

Botany Studies

Hi, all.

Following my decision to focus on botanical illustration, I decided to relearn some of what I knew about plant structures and also learn a lot more about their inner workings. As I actually would like to train to become a plant ecologist/botanist it's not really enough to just what I see: I actually want to know how they work. It's quite a great pairing this, the fusion of botanical/ecological study with art practice. Of course, I'm not really going to be drawing or painting the internal structures of plants to the degree that I've featured here, but from a scientific point of view it's much needed knowledge. I find drawing things and turning them into diagrams really helps in remembering how things work. You can see I attempted to shade the flower on top left, but I decided to just jot things down thereafter. The goal of this first page was just to familiarise myself with basic/intermediary botany instead of showing any real artistic skill.

So now that I've drawn some plant parts (mostly reproductive - I've missed out bark characteristics, leaf shapes, and fruit types here - there's so much to cover) I'll think I'll go ahead and start on a few case studies and actually get to drawing and colouring some plants as accurately as possible.


Friday, 17 July 2015

Botanical Drawing

I have tried plenty of hobbies over the years, but I find that only one or two really stick. I've always drawn and there are times I become focused on drawing, but mostly I just draw when I feel like it. Nowadays I draw mostly landscapes and work on cartography. I've always liked the idea of botanical drawing and have tried to come up with my own fantastatical creations. After some thinking, I've decided to refocus on drawing, specifically of the botanical variety. It goes hand in hand with my ecological studies as well as just being good practice.

My goal is to have a good catalogue of drawings of many of Britain's plant species, but also world wide too. I might try my hand at water colour in the near future, which is something I've never really attempted, but I know it's the preferred medium. In fact the last time I used paint was in school, 6 years and a half years ago. So yes, I'm definitely interested in using traditional methods.

Will probably update this blog with a new drawing at least once every few days, seeing as right now I have a lot of free time.

Edit: I'm also editing and rearranging my Youtube channel as I will be uploading a vlog on my progress in botanical/landscape art, as well as continuing with cartography.