This 4-day fieldwork course will give students the opportunity to undertake an array of fieldwork investigations across a diverse range of habitats. Students will develop their research and practical skills in real-world contexts, while gaining first-hand experience of all required methodologies (Me) and sampling techniques (ST).
Students will have the opportunity to use a variety of specialist fieldwork equipment to investigate the environment around them, including moth traps, soil ovens, bat-detectors, and infiltrometers.
Mathematical skills and the use of GIS will be used to interrogate and manipulate fieldwork data, including a variety of graphical forms, the calculation of Simpson’s Index of Diversity, measures of dispersion, uncertainties and percentage error, and the appropriate use of statistical tests.
This course will deepen students’ understanding of real-world environmental science, inspire them as they explore dynamic environments, and enable them to meet the specification requirement of 4 days of fieldwork.
The following is an example of how a 4-day course might look. Our courses are as flexible as possible to meet your requirements, with other topics and skills able to be substituted into this timetable. There will be some variation between what is offered at specific centres due to habitat availability.
- Students greeted by FSC staff.
- Welcome talk and centre tour.
- Pre-course meeting with FSC staff and teachers.
- Allocation of wellies/waterproofs.
Students will collect biotic and abiotic data to compare two contrasting freshwater areas. Students will calculate Simpson’s Index of Diversity for freshwater invertebrates. Findings will be linked to wider context of aquatic systems, considering issues such as biodiversity, pollution, hydrology, and climate change.
Using the data collected in the afternoon, students have the opportunity to consider data presentation techniques and use a Chi squared or Mann-Whitney U statistical test to compare their findings in the two different areas.
The Carbon Cycle
An investigation into the role of woodland in carbon storage and sequestration. Students will calculate mean tree mass and tree spacing to estimate carbon storage per hectare in a woodland. Students can then consider the carbon footprints of various activities and investigate the effectiveness of carbon offsetting schemes.
Afternoon and Evening
Measuring Edaphic Factors
Using local habitats as a context, students will consider the causes of soil fertility, degradation and erosion, and soil management strategies. They will design activities to investigate environmental issues associated with soil which could include looking at percentage moisture and organic content, soil pH, sedimentation and use of soil triangles.
Life on the Rocky Shore
An investigation into how tidal zonation affects the biotic and abiotic factors on the shore. Students will use systematic sampling to collect data along a transect, including species abundance and distribution, and temperature and salinity.
Afternoon and Evening
First-hand experience using different techniques to investigate populations of organisms including estimating the population size of an organism in a habitat using the Lincoln Index, investigating invertebrate communities using pitfall traps, and considering how temporal change impacts the populations of flying organisms using moth traps and bat detectors.
Air Pollution Study
An investigation into Lichens as indicators of air quality. Students will collect data, using random sampling, on species abundance, diversity and composition and learn what lichens can tell us about air pollution. They will also measure associated abiotic factors including temperature, humidity, wind-speed, and aspect to help support their findings.
Depart at Midday
- Review of the course.
- Signposting further actions and opportunities with the FSC and beyond.
- Final farewell from FSC staff.
How this course fulfills the specification
3.1.2 Conservation of biodiversity
3.1.3 Life processes in the biosphere and conservation planning
3.2.4 Carbon cycle
3.4.3 Nutrient pollution
3.5.3 Forest resources
Me 1 Random sampling
Me 2 Systematic sampling along a transect
Me 3 Number of samples
Me 4 Sample size
Me 5 Sample timing
Me 6 Statistical analysis
ST 1 Measurement of abiotic factors
ST 2 The use of quadrats to measure biotic factors
ST 3 Measurement of edaphic factors
ST 4 The use of methods to measure biotic factors related to animal taxa on the soil surface and in soil
ST 5 The use of methods to measure biotic factors related to animal taxa on foliage and flying animals
ST 6 The use of aquatic sampling methods to measure biotic factors
Added value of this course
- Develop personal skills
- Have fun
- Be inspired by a passion for the subject
- Build friendships