The workshop was intended to cater particularly for the needs of beginners and attracted 14 participants, 7 of whom were members of the Society.
On Friday evening there was a session on basic bryology for those who felt they needed it. Saturday and Sunday each began with an expedition to Wimbledon Common to collect specimens, which participants identified using microscopes and equipment kindly made available by Whitelands College. No rarities were found, but a useful list of 28 mosses and 6 hepatics is being sent to the Common Conservators. Polaroid spectacles were donned to view some exciting 3-D colour slides of bryophytes, most kindly presented by Dr Harold Whitehouse.
The advice and help given during the weekend will make a real contribution to many attendees’ identification skills. Of particular value, at least for me, were the practical hints and tips on dissection and slide preparation, whilst the clarification of difficult points in the keys may help to reduce future frustration.
The success of the workshop owed much to the presence of Drs Alan Eddy and Philip Lightowlers, who gave generously of their time and expertise; and especially to Jennifer Ide whose organisation was ideal. Finally, the contacts made during the Workshop will help to assuage the ‘loneliness of the long-distance bryologist’ which afflicts most amateurs who take up the art.