For those who want to start really getting to grips with the world around them, I run courses in introductory geology and palaeontology, and (in the summer) entomology and local ecology.
Each course term last for ten weeks (six weeks for entomology), with one 3-hour session per week – plus homework! Although the geology course terms build on each other, they can be done individually if you feel you have the knowledge of the previous terms already. No prior knowledge assumed!
£100 per person, per term (2-6 people)
Introduction to Geology and Palaeontology
Term 1: the basics
Geology is a complex subject that involves some understanding of chemistry, biology, geography, and other aspects. The first terms covers essentials like plate tectonics, interpreting rocks, and the diversity of life, to give you a framework for more specialised interests.
Term 2: major fossil groups
Focusing more on palaeontology, we study a different group of fossils each week (e.g. trilobites, molluscs, vertebrates) in order to build up a knowledge of ecosystems as a whole. By the end of this term, you will (hopefully) be able to recognise and discuss intelligently virtually any half-decent fossil you're likely to find in the local area.
Term 3: concepts in palaeontology
The third term drops you in the deep end... and classes about a wide range of topics of current and perennial interest in palaeontology. This includes mass extinctions, the Cambrian Explosion, and the search for life on other planets. Although it's at a very high level conceptually, and includes cutting-edge discoveries, it's presented in a way accessible to anyone who has done terms 1 and 2.
Introduction to Entomology (in summer)
Currently one 6-week term (one afternoon per week) has been developed, including lab work and field observations. This course introduces you to the variety of insects, how to identify and understand them, and how they are linked into local ecosystems. By the end of the term, you'll be able to start your own investigations, or specialisation in getting to one a particular group.
Other courses are sometimes developed, and can be run if there is sufficient interest. For example, Volcanoes and the Builth Inlier (our fabulous local geological phenomenon) builds on the Introduction to Geology course, and goes in a different direction. If you're interested in something, just ask!