Earthworm ID Training

The ESB is committed to delivering training to potential earthworm recording through the delivery of regular training courses. Training courses may be run in partnership with other organisations and, as a result, prices may vary. The following types of training course/event may be delivered by ESB tutors on behalf of the society according to the Earthworm ID Training Pathway that was developed by the Earthworm Society of Britain in partnership with the FSC BioLinks project.

Earthworm ID Training Pathway
Earthworm ID Training Pathway by Keiron Derek Brown (c) Earthworm Society of Britain (CC-BY 4.0)

Introductory Level Events/Courses

Earthworm talks - presentations to natural history groups, the general public and children. We have previously given in-person talks on behalf of Kingston Biodiversity Network, Richmond Park, the Wildlife Trust for Berks, Bucks & Oxon and The Holland Park Ecology Centre. We've also promoted a wealth of virtual talks on earthworm subjects such as ecology, research and composting. Check out the upcoming events section above for details of any scheduled earthworm talks. For upcoming earthworm talks, check out the upcoming events.

Earthworm Biology & Ecology - These one day beginners' courses (formerly titled 'Learn To Love Earthworms') will take you through the biology and ecology of these fascinating ecosystem engineers, and explain why all earthworms are not the same. Participants will undertake an outdoor earthworm field activity in the afternoon. The ESB usually delivers these events in partnership with other organisations. For upcoming Earthworm Biology & Ecology courses, check out the upcoming events.

Discovering Earthworms - This online course covers the content of our Learn To Love Earthworms course and some! It is aimed at adults, expected to be completed within a five-week period and covers the following 4 modules from the Eco-Skills Earthworm Learning Framework:

  • SIN101 Earthworm Biology will start with what makes an earthworm an earthworm and where earthworms fit within the tree of life. We will then provide an introduction to the biology of earthworms, including their anatomy and some of the biological processes occurring within the earthworm.
  • SIN102 Earthworm Ecology & Behaviour will explore the role of earthworms within the ecosystems that they inhabit. We will start with the findings of Charles Darwin regarding earthworm intelligence and the role of earthworms in bioturbation. We will then move on to various behaviours of earthworms, including burrowing, dormancy and dispersal.
  • SIN103 Earthworm Diversity will explore how British and Irish earthworms can be categorised by their ecology and behaviour into 4 ecological categories, with guidance on how to determine the ecological category an earthworm belongs to in the field based on the size, colour and pigmentation of an earthworm. We will then look a little further afield and discuss the diversity of earthworms globally, with a look at some amazing species found outside of the British Isles and the impact of British & Irish earthworms in ecosystems they have been introduced to abroad.
  • SIN104 Finding Earthworms will put the things that we've learned about earthworms into practice and look for earthworms in their habitats. This will involve looking for earthworms and earthworm field signs in your garden or allotment (or local park). We will ask you to search above-ground habitats for earthworms and look for earthworm field signs.

For upcoming Discovering Earthworms courses, check out the upcoming events.

Beginner Level Events/Courses

Earthworm Sampling Days - These one day field sampling events involve undertaking earthworm sampling methods to collect specimens from a site for identification at a later date. Earthworm Sampling Days may be run in partnership with other recording schemes and incorporate a wider taxa than just earthworms (such as our Soil Invertebrate Field Recorder Day in Bushy Park during 2018 that was run in partnership with the British Myriapod & Isopod Group and the FSC BioLinks project). These events involve the collection, killing and preservation of specimens for the purpose of biological recording. For upcoming Earthworm Sampling Days, check out the upcoming events.

Bedfordshire sampling
Sampling earthworms in Bedfordshire (c) Keiron Derek Brown (CC BY 4.0)

Intermediate Level Events/Courses

Identifying & Recording Earthworms - These weekend residential courses start on Friday evening with an introduction to earthworms, their ecology and their importance in the modern world. During the weekend participants will engage in practical field sampling methods and be taught how to identify British earthworms using microscopes and identification keys. The course will end on Sunday afternoon with guidance on submitting records to the National Earthworm Recording Scheme. This course combines all of the content from our EarthwormBiology & Ecology course, Earthworm Sampling Day and Earthworm ID with Microscopes course. For upcoming Identifying & Recording Earthworms training courses, check out the upcoming events.

Earthworm ID with Microscopes - These one day identification courses are entirely lab-based practical courses teaching participants how to identify earthworm specimens using microscopes and identification keys. The ESB usually delivers these events in partnership with other organisations. For up-coming one-day identification workshops, check out the upcoming events.

Earthworm Key Testing Workshops - During 2016-2017 we run these one-day identification workshops to help test and inform the second edition of the 'Key to the Earthworms of the UK & Ireland' by Emma Sherlock (due to be published in spring 2018). Find out more information in the Earthworm Key Testing Workshop news article.

Bedfordshire Earthworm ID Weekend
Earthworm Identification with Microscopes training course (c) Keiron Derek Brown (CC BY 4.0)

Advanced Level Events/Courses

Advanced Earthworm Identification - This course is currently in progress and will involve earthworm dissection techniques and identifying non-British earthworm species found in artificial environments (such as greenhouses). Coming soon!

Want us to join your event?

If you would like to discuss the ESB attending your nature event, group meeting, schools natural history lesson or finding out more about the identification courses available please email We would be delighted to hear from you.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise indicated, this work was created by Keiron Derek Brown on behalf of the Earthworm Society of Britain and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.