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23 Feb 2024 < Back

Why I'm attending the Invasive Plant Identification course

In this latest guest blog, Stefan Cannon of Phlorum Ltd gives us his perspective on why he has decided to attend the Invasive Plant ID Course, what he hopes to gain from the training and why it is important to keep our skills and knowledge up-to-date.

Stefan's thoughts - why I enrolled

Accurate identification is the starting point of effective invasive plant management. I have signed up to the Property Care Association's (PCA) Invasive Plant Identification Course because the hands-on workshop offers more than books, videos and theoretical discussions. The training is developed to identify key and common invasive plant species included in the Invasive Alien Species Order and Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Going beyond the books and videos

I'm looking forward to identifying invasive plants, from being able to see, touch, smell (maybe even taste?) specimens brought to the course.

To be able to see with my own eyes the scale of the Gunnera and Hottentot Fig, to bending bamboo and smelling the skunk cabbage and garlics. None of these are possible from PowerPoint presentations or the printed pages and having them in a room near each other is a useful comparison.

The Invasive Plant Identification Course workshop is designed to provide hands-on experience of more than fifteen common invasive species in the UK. By being able to see all the plants up close, this emphasis on real-world application enhances the learning experience and prepares attendees for the diverse challenges they may encounter in their roles. 

Pursuit of knowledge 

In a competitive professional landscape, continuous learning is key. Having worked with invasive plants for over ten years, there are still some I have not encountered before. For example, I only saw American Skunk Cabbage for the first time while on holiday in the Isle of Wight last summer. 

Completing the Invasive Plant Identification Course is a commitment to staying updated on industry best practices as the course can only enhance one's professional development, making our company more marketable to clients seeking our expertise in invasive plant management. 

Just one chapter in continuous professional development

My story, however, is just one small chapter in the challenge to protect our ecosystems and better manage invasive plants. But, if we are going to all be successful in reducing the effect of many invasive plants, courses like this ID course are an important step in our toolkit for all.

Like sharing this blog to help spread good knowledge, these courses can make a difference in helping invasive weed specialists like myself to protect people's homes and our ecosystems while helping individual professional development. For me, it is a course I am certainly looking forward to attending soon.

Find out more...

Our Invasive Plant Identification course is taking place on Wednesday 3 July. As Stefan explained, this is a hands-on course and is designed for those surveyors looking to gain further knowledge and understanding of invasive species as listed in Schedule 9. To find out more about what the course will provide and the species that will be looked at, click the button below.

Find out more



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