I take students on a very big field camp where we camp out in tents, and we stay in a national park that contains world heritage listed rainforest and it's a site where a variety of different species are in reasonable abundance … and it's also a site that aesthetically it has some fantastic views of the surrounding landscape so coming into an environment like this and being able to show the students what that contains is very rewarding.
Today we woke up nice and early and we went to go check traps that we actually set out last night so there was transect a pretty long one probably over 200 metres with 25 traps about 10 metres apart on them and so we went and collected the traps and took the animals out that we did catch and we caught about four different mammals and then we processed them, weighed them, clipped their fur.
Eliza Belle Matthews
It sort of gives me an insight into wildlife conservation as a whole, working with small animals gives a sort of stepping stone to something a little bit larger.
We have got a lot of PhD students and Ross and a couple of other staff members and they are all really inspired about nature and animals, species. It's been great.
I've been offered four different practicals, whereas at my home university back in Ontario we have maybe gone into the field twice whereas here I've come in and pretty much all my courses have a practical component. So there's a lot of hands on work that I wouldn't normally get. Like actually handling the mammals today we were encouraged to go in and grab this rat or this mouse whereas previously there'd be an instructor who really just shows you how to do it. But here at SCU they really want you to get hands and get into the field and learning yourself on learning in the field so it's been really great.
Eliza Belle Matthews
If we didn't do this I probably wouldn't have any idea of animal ethics or animal handling protecting that sort of stuff, if I didn't come on this trip so that's a massive benefit.
The future is going to be all about conserving our biodiversity in our forests.
The School of Environment, Science and Engineering places a strong focus on preparing our undergraduate students for employment after graduation. This preparation involves students undertaking fieldwork as part of their studies. Fieldwork provides hands-on environmental practice, interactive learning experiences and the application of classroom knowledge and skills.
Within our region, world heritage rainforests, subtropical forests and stunning coastal and marine ecosystems provide living laboratories for field studies; while on-campus our students have access to fully equipped laboratories with advanced analytical equipment.
Fieldwork is a component of many of the units taught in the Bachelor of Environmental Science, Bachelor of Forest Science and Management, and Bachelor of Marine Science and Management, and the Bachelor of Environmental Science/Bachelor of Marine Science and Management combined degree. Depending on the course and units undertaken, students undertake field trips in a variety of settings including:
- accessing rivers, lakes and estuaries to study water quality and wildlife
- exploring coastal formations to study rock pools and marine life
- heading out in boats to observe whales and dolphins
- visiting native forests and plantations for land management skills.
There are up to 40 excursions organised by the School throughout the year, from day trips to field camps of up to ten days in duration. All fieldwork activity involves comprehensive instruction on occupational health and safety responsibilities, and once in the field, students are supervised by our staff who not only have expert knowledge of the unit content, but up-to-date training in first aid.