Natural England funding

It has been a hectic and exciting start to 2012 for the recording scheme, with the recent good news that we had won funding from Natural England!!

For a while the government has been concerned to improve biological recording capacity in the UK and, with the support of Defra, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Natural England they set up the Fund for biological recording in the voluntary sector. It was to this fund that we applied.

Our application had to be submitted in quite a hurry because the deadlines were tight but, thanks to some great help from our friends at the BRC in Wallingford, we managed to make the deadline and were one of under 40 applicants to be successful!

The funding has been given for the purchase of a new Leica S8APO microscope with lights and camera adapters so that we will be able to produce deep-focus photographs of key tachinid structures as well as tutorials on various aspects of entomology. The first articles have been published in the ‘Tutorials’ menu so keep checking back for more in the coming months.

Anyway, here it is – isn’t she a beauty!? 😀

In these photos the camera adapters haven’t been fitted because at the time of writing I am waiting for a few extra tubes to be sent to achieve parfocality with the eyepieces. But you can see the port emerging from the top of the microscope. My trusty Meiji EMZ sits to the left and, with its slightly deeper working distance (90mm instead of 75mm on the Leica), will still be used for sorting malaise trap catches etc.