Lichens for Absolute Beginners LABs

This page is about the Lichens for Absolute Beginners free on-line ‘zoom’ based course for beginners. 
Also available for beginners on this website are:-

  1. The "Learn the Language" free self teaching unit which explains the meanings of terms using in lichenology,
  2. The "Species Descriptions" - simple sheets with pictures. There are now (Dec 2023) exactly 100 of these,  describing in simple terms common lichens you may find. 

Lichens for Absolute Beginners is a free on-line ‘zoom’ based course for beginners.
The course comprises a series of approx. 12 face-to-face zoom-based sessions with a group of 6 participants led by a tutor. Each session of 1.5 hours is structured, interactive with some post session activities.

Typically, several such groups run each year. Most start in October but a group(s) may start in the following January, should there be sufficient interest.

The target audience is the absolute beginner at lichens, although this may also suit those with some limited experience.

The aim of the course is to cover the ‘skills and knowledge of the beginner stage lichenologist’ as detailed on the BLS website page "Skills and Knowledge"

If you are interested in attending such a group or would like some further information, please email Judith Allinson at  We re taking bookings for the next LABs courses which will begin in October 2024.


Post-LABS groups

Several of the beginner zoom groups have continued meeting as self-help Identification based and project groups called Post-LABs groups.
As part of the progression route, there is an intermediate stage residential course (LEAF-1) This stands for Lichen Extension and Fieldwork. This is designed to run approx. 12 months after a LABs course to facilitate transition to the next stage. This course is also available to those who have not attended a LABs course but have mastered the Skills and Knowledge of the Beginner Stage Lichenology. The next  one is planned for Sept 2024.  Could you help organise another?


The Lichen Chat and Improvement Group (LCIG) is a fortnightly zoom group meeting which Judith Allinson started during covid lockdown (2020) and is still running.
This was for all levels of lichenologist but tended to focus on those of intermediate level. The LABs groups arose from this to meet the needs of beginners who attended. 

We are currently on the fourth year of the LABs course with the 19th group starting in January.

Read more about other Zoom groups organised by members of the BLS.