The Australian field ecology and data analysis course will be based at Mount Burr Swamp a wetland site being restored by the Nature Glenelg Trust about half an hour north of Mount Gambier in South Australia. The water levels have been largely restored in the main swamp since 2016, in the first of many steps being taken to protect and enhance habitat for six nationally threatened species – view the brochure here
During the course, students will be camping in individual tents to ensure that the group are socially distanced.
The course consists of three main parts:
– half of the time will be spent in the field working with experienced field naturalists learning the following techniques:
– the other half of the time will be spent working on their laptops with online tuition from a group of specialist scientists.
Students will work together in small groups (2 -3 students) on one of the following data sets: reef fish communities, coral reef structure, cloud forest bird communities, spider monkey behaviour or large mammal distribution in a South African reserve. Over the week the objective will be for the group to write up a paper answering a research question they have devised based on the data sets. Each day there will be tasks the students need to complete:
Each group will present their final paper by the end of the course
In the evenings there will be presentations from different academics, professional field ecologists or wildlife film makers explaining how they developed their careers.
Working with NGT Education:
The course attendees will meet at 11am on the Sunday start date in Adelaide airport, for an 11.30am departure, and be transferred by coach to the site (approx. 5.5hrs). Upon arrival there will be an introduction to the camp hosts, site orientation and a health and safety briefing; including bathroom and workplace facilities in the shearing shed and an emphasis on how to maintain social distancing. The students will be busy throughout the day and by the Friday night should have participated in surveys using the identified techniques and written up a science paper in a small group. The groups will be transferred to Adelaide airport on the Saturday morning and return flights can be booked from 2pm. Students over 16 years of age can travel independently.