FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

1974 Graham Proudlove, Todmorden - FSC Malham Tarn

I was one of a group of nine who went on an A level Biology field course to Malham Tarn in September 1974(see the photograph), the beginning of the final year at school. I was not doing very well with my A levels and did not know what I was going to do after school.

1974 - Graham ProudloveWe arrived at Malham Tarn for the weeks field course and were introduced to our tutor for the week, Henry Disney. On the first day we went out to sample some freshwater invertebrates to identify using keys (which we had not come across before). I collected some larval Dixidae (meniscus midges). At this time Henry Disney had just written the FBA key to Dixidae but it was not yet published so I got to use his typescript copy! The whole week was a complete eye-opener for me and I became a committed biologist almost overnight. When I got home I immediately ordered a copy of “Freshwater Ecology” by T.T. Macan (which I still have dated 1974) and joined the Freshwater Biological Association.

The week changed my life. I applied for, and got into, a zoology degree at the University of Manchester, where I went on to work for my whole career. I am still a biologist today, writing a book on the subterranean (cave) biology of Great Britain and Ireland.

A combination of location, FSC ethos and the wonderful inspirational teaching of Henry Disney set me off as a biologist and cannot think of anything I would rather have done with my life. It is greatly pleasing to see that the FSC is still purveying these values (and probably more besides) today and that people will still get life changing experiences.