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.

Example Timetable

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.

Day 1


Arrive Midday
  • Students greeted by FSC staff.
  • Welcome talk and centre tour.
  • Pre-course meeting with FSC staff and teachers.
  • Allocation of wellies/waterproofs.


Biodiversity (Freshwater)

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.


Data Analysis

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.

Day 2


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.

Day 3


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

Population Monitoring

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.

Day 4


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

Specification Links

Subject Content:

3.1.2 Conservation of biodiversity
3.1.3 Life processes in the biosphere and conservation planning
3.2.4 Carbon cycle
3.2.5 Soils
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

Sampling Techniques:

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 skills

  • Communication | Resilience | Independent thinking | Leadership
  • Numeracy | Literacy | Investigative skills | Observation

Enhance Knowledge

  • Ask questions.
  • Apply knowledge in the real world and make links.
  • Make sense of new places and understand our place and role within this.


  • Have fun | Make friendships | Connect with nature

Why Choose Field Studies Council?

  • Expert tuition by fully trained staff

  • Stunning locations across the UK

  • Outstanding curriculum knowledge

  • Rigorous health and safety procedures

  • Support before and after your visit

  • Free places for visiting staff