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

Options include:

Dates available:

  • 19 June – 25 June 2022
  • 3 July – 9 July 2022
  • 17 July – 23 July 2022

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 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)

Practicals are aimed at developing relevant skills for wildlife careers.  These include pollination surveys and how to quantify bird and mammal population that can be used in land management careers.  Others such as UK Hab mapping and calculation of the biodiversity value of a site using the DEFRA biodiversity metric will open up opportunities for planning authorities and developers.  The carbon practicals will look at how to quantify carbon in fields, hedgerows and trees and how the voluntary carbon market works.  In the evenings there will be presentations from professional ecologists or climate change specialists in how they developed their careers.

There is also the opportunity to learn how to use canopy access techniques to be able to undertake surveys in tree canopies.  This is an optional extra course costing £170 provided by Canopy Access Ltd and you can do this half day practical instead of one of the other practicals being offered.  All the equipment and training is provided and you will be accompanied into the canopy by an instructor.  Seeing the Knepp estate in the same height as Purple Emperor butterflies defending their territories or nesting White Storks is an amazing experience.

Field Skills for Wildlife Management Careers at Knepp Estate

The aim of the 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. Thus practicals 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 survey methods including large mammal distance sampling, bird mist netting and point counts, pollinator surveys and habitat classification and mapping using UKHab
  • Identify potential careers from talks delivered by professionals from across the conservation sector
  • Optional Canopy Access course (additional cost of £170)
  • Course fee of £595
  • 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

Want to get involved with this project?

Preparation

Want to get involved with this project?

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