We have a number of talks coming up about our expeditions, register for a talk by clicking here!

  • Overview
  • Objectives
  • Skills you gain
  • Costs to Consider
  • Site Conditions

2024 Dates

2 weeks: 2 weeks terrestrial only – 7 July – 20 July 2024
2 weeks: 2 weeks terrestrial only – 21 July – 3 August 2024
2 weeks: 2 weeks terrestrial only – 4 August – 17 August 2024

If you are having trouble booking onto a 2 week date, please fill in a 1 week booking form and send an email with the dates you would like to expeditions@opwall.com

Click Here for Expedition Dates

This project is based at the Knepp Estate in the Low Weald of Sussex, which is Britain’s premier and most famous rewilding site.  The 3500 acre estate is being returned to a pre-human habitat by almost abandoning human intervention in the management of the landscape and allowing fields to revert to natural vegetation. Fallow and red deer, wild horses, long-horn cattle to mimic the effects of the extinct auroch and pig to mimic wild boar control the vegetation on this unique estate to produce a patchwork of different habitats.  Beavers are also being introduced to help restore the wet grassland and wetland habitats.

This approach was started in 2002 and has turned out to be visionary with many other farmers now looking to similarly restore areas of the country using this approach.  The effect on wildlife has been breathtaking including massive increases in floristic diversity, insect abundance, many more butterflies including special species such as Purple Emperor, growth in the abundance of threatened bird species such as nightingales, and turtle doves and 13 of the 17 bat species returning to the land.

This course is aimed at those participating positioning themselves to be able to benefit from the anticipated explosive growth in career opportunities in wildlife management and climate change careers in the UK (see Opportunities in the UK jobs market for ecology and climate change careers)

In this 2 week course, the practicals are aimed at developing applied skills for wildlife careers. In their first week on site, volunteers will get involved with a variety of different surveys including a bird ringing demo, as well as a point count and breeding bird transect, large mammal camera trapping and DISTANCE sampling, cover trapping for herpetofauna, and a range of invertebrate survey methods such as pan trapping, sweep netting and Malaise trapping. UKHAB mapping and calculation of the biodiversity of a site using the DEFRA biodiversity metric will be taught through habitat surveys, which will open up opportunities for planning authorities and developers. In the second week volunteers will get to experience an ever wider range of surveys! This includes surveying small mammals and learning how to trap, identify and handle newts, which will help volunteers to work towards a Great Crested Newt license if they wish to in the future. The carbon practicals will look at how to quantify carbon in fields, hedgerows and trees and how the voluntary carbon market works. Volunteers will also have the chance to learn how to measure air, soil or water quality, as well getting involved with bat surveys. All of these will give volunteers a brilliant understanding of survey methods, and prepare them for a career in UK conservation.

Volunteers will also get to go on a rewilding safari with one of the Knepp ecologists, which is an amazing chance to put things into perspective and really see how diverse the wildlife is at Knepp. On the weekend in the middle of the course volunteers will get to join some of the other safaris, which could include the Purple Emperor, White Storks, and Exmoor ponies safaris. There will be talks on the theory behind rewilding and in the evenings there will be presentations from professional ecologists or climate change specialists in how they developed their careers.

Field skills, data analysis and specialist skills for wildlife management careers at Knepp Estate

The aim of this 2 week course is to give the participants experience in field survey techniques that are likely to be encountered if undertaking a field ecology or climate change career.  In the first week the practicals are aimed at training participants in how to quantify a range of different taxa and then how to analyse and prepare field ecology reports.  In the second week the practicals are more applied and are aimed at acquiring skills needed for different career opportunities in the wildlife conservation or climate change fields.  involve completing pollinator surveys and how to identify bee and hoverfly species, how to map areas using UKHab and quantify the biodiversity score of an area using the DEFRA biodiversity metric, how to quantify carbon storage in a range of habitats and how the voluntary carbon market works.

In addition, the course includes evening presentation from professional ecologists or climate change specialists in how they developed their careers.

  • Learn about UK conservation, land management and rewilding from lectures and practicals
  • Learn a wide range of wildlife survey techniques and how to analyse data and prepare field reports
  • Obtain skills in applied surveys that help access wildlife or climate based careers
  • Identify potential careers from talks delivered by professionals from across the conservation sector
  • Course fee of £1625 for 2 weeks
  • Travel to site

Climate

The British summertime is somewhat hard to predict, usually average daytime temperatures from June to August are between 18°C and 21°. Rainfall can be variable on site from very dry weeks to wetter weeks. It is important to check up to date weather forecasts before departure.

Fitness Level Required

Medium – there can be long walks and terrain varies depending on research location with some being flat and others more challenging.

Creature Comforts

Facilities in the camp site are basic (sleeping in tents), with a mixture of compost and temporary toilets. There are some limited opportunities to buy snacks. Phone signal can be good in certain areas of the site.

Locations

  • Knepp Estate
  • United Kingdom

Want to get involved with this project?

Preparation

Want to get involved with this project?

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