Big push to promote fieldwork by school and university students
To highlight how important fieldwork is for students, today (14 September) marks the official launch of the Year of Fieldwork, an initiative led by the Field Studies Council (FSC) with Esri UK, the Geographical Association, Ordnance Survey and the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).
The campaign highlights the widespread benefits of fieldwork, which can be a life-changing educational experience for many. One of the Year’s goals is that far more prominence should be given to fieldwork by school and university students studying biology, geography and a wide range of other environmental subjects.
The launch takes place at FSC Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae.
Many of our most prominent environmentalists and life scientists speak of the importance of fieldwork in their development. Some say it was the best part of their research careers.
Fieldwork covers all forms of study outside the classroom – mapping landscapes, taking weather measurements, water sampling, moth trapping, bird surveys and plant identification are just a few of the hundreds of field studies carried out by students and researchers.
Fieldwork can be done everywhere – from a small city park or garden to the highest mountain or the deepest seabed. Students gain many crucial skills, such as good organisation, team working, accurate observing and recording, and many communication skills. All of these equip students superbly for work in a wider range of professions.
Each year, the FSC hosts over 100,000 school and university students from across the UK at its field centres, with many other residential and day centres also offering facilities for fieldwork.
FSC President Professor Tim Burt, Master of Hatfield College, Durham University, commented: “Fieldwork is the lifeblood of greater environmental understanding, and it courses through the veins of our best environmentalists. The FSC wants to see a massive increase in the number of students studying in the field to broaden the benefits of outdoor education.”
The launch today showcases the fieldwork taking place at Millport and then formally marks the start of the campaign which runs during the academic year September 2015-August 2016.
FSC Chief Executive Rob Lucas says: “FSC exists to raise awareness of fieldwork and the benefits it brings. We are proud to be a founding partner of the Year of Fieldwork.
“There is a tradition of research and fieldwork here at Millport and as such it is a fitting place to launch this initiative, as much to celebrate the value of fieldwork, as to urge its expansion.
“We are delighted we have with us today some of the many other organisations and institutions that have signed up as supporters. This broadens the base into schools’ education, local councils, universities, learned societies from across the UK, and the wide spectrum of environmental and business interests.”
Councillor Willie Gibson, Leader of North Ayrshire Council, said: "North Ayrshire Council is proud to support the launch of the Year of Fieldwork on the Isle of Cumbrae.
"The Centre is a flagship facility - it's fantastic to see it going from strength-to-strength, providing another great opportunity to put Millport on the map and shine a light on this wonderful educational facility.
"Fieldwork is such a vital and valuable part of learning for students of all ages, it allows them to gain experience out-with the classroom. I look forward to seeing first-hand the opportunities the Year of Fieldwork brings to our local schools and businesses across North Ayrshire."
The Year of Fieldwork seeks to campaign and celebrate fieldwork skills and opportunities. The Year of Fieldwork will be encouraging people to spread the word by displaying posters showing support, signing up as supporters, and sharing fieldwork experiences with the hashtag #yearoffieldwork.
Find out more at www.fieldwork.org.uk
Monday, September 14, 2015