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Everglades - Nature Wilderness Field Course

One week field course in the Greater Everglades Region, Florida

The US field ecology and data analysis course will be based at Green Glades West, an incredible 8000 acre property in the Greater Everglades Region, adjacent to Big Cypress National Preserve. This ecosystem is renowned for its wildlife and diversity of unique habitats, which are not found anywhere else on the planet. For this reason, it has been recognized by both UNESCO and the Ramsar Convention as a Wetland Area of Global Importance. Green Glades West includes excellent examples of sawgrass marshes, ponds, tropical hardwood hammocks, pinelands, and cypress domes, which collectively support animals including the critically endangered Florida panther, black bears, and alligators.


  • Sunday 21 March – Saturday 27 March, 2021
  • Sunday 28 March - Saturday 3 April, 2021

Reserve your place


The course consists of three main parts:

  • 1. Learning ecology survey techniques

    • Habitat surveys for analysing and comparing vegetation community structure
    • Sweep net, pitfall, flight intercept and light traps for invertebrates
    • Transect searches, pitfall trap lines and cover board surveys for reptile, amphibian and small mammal surveys
    • Sound and spotlight surveys for amphibians
    • Area surveys, quadrat surveys, soundscape analysis for birds
    • Camera trapping and distance sampling for large mammals
    • Sound analysis and mist net trapping for bats
    • Pond and wetland surveys for alligators and otters


  • 2. Learning how to analyse in R and write up a large data set as a scientific paper for publication

    – 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 group will present their final paper by the end of the course.

  • 3. Learning about how to develop a career in conservation biology or wildlife film making


    In the evenings there will be presentations from different academics, professional field ecologists or wildlife film makers explaining how they developed their careers.

Day to Day Tasks

Each day there will be tasks the students need to complete:

  • Learning how the selected data set were gathered, developing a research question that can be asked and writing an introduction to the paper

  • Learning how to code in R (the open source data analysis package) and graphing some of the data needed to analyse the research question

  • Learning how to use basis statistical tests in R to analyse the data

  • Learning how to write up the discussion, conclusions and bibliography of the proposed paper.

Additional Information

    •  Students over 16 years of age may be able to use the course for their Gold Duke of Edinburgh residential requirements.
    • Attend lectures/workshops on biodiversity and conservation
    • Explore unique flora and fauna
    • Learn many different survey methods for invetebrates, herpetofauna, mammals, birds and bats
    • Learning how to analyse in R and write up a large data set as a scientific paper for publication
    • Learning about how to develop a career in conservation biology or wildlife film making
  • The course attendees will meet at 2pm on the Sunday start date in Miami International Airport, for an 2:30pm departure, and be transferred by coach to the site (approx. 1.5hrs). Upon arrival there will be an introduction to the camp hosts, site orientation and a health and safety briefing; including bathroom and workplace facilities, with 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 back to Miami airport on the Saturday morning and return flights can be booked from 2pm. Students over 16 years of age can travel independently.

  • The cost for the week including all food, accommodation, transport around the site, participation in each of the field surveys, tuition, lectures and access to the scientists and professional field ecologists is USD900.  Groups from a school need to be accompanied by a teacher or parent to the work experience field location, but are not required to stay and participate (they are welcome to do so if they wish though).

    For group bookings please contact info@opwall.com and for individual student bookings please use the ‘reserve your place’ button below. There are maximum numbers on each work experience in order to ensure the students have the level of academic and field support needed. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

    • The transfers at the start and finish of the course, to and from Miami airport to the site are charged at $100 per person.
    • School groups under 16 years of age must be accompanied by a teacher or parent (this is optional for students over 16 years old) and there is a free place provided on the course (including accommodation and food) for the chaperone for each group of 8 students. Students over 16 years of age can travel independently.

Reserve your place

Wallace House, Old Bolingbroke, Spilsby, Lincolnshire PE23 4EX, UK
| +44 (0) 1790 763194 | info@opwall.com