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USA - Everglades Region, Florida

USA - 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.

To learn more, register for one of our informational webinars using the links below.

Thursday May 20th7pm (ET)Register here!


Two Courses Available

  • Introduction to Wildlife Monitoring, Ecology, and Data Analysis
  • Field Skills for Wildlife, Conservation, and Natural Resource Careers

Course Overview:

  • Introduction to Wildlife Monitoring, Ecological Surveys, and Data Analysis

    • Sunday 1 August – Saturday 7 August 2021
    • Sunday 8 August – Saturday 14 August 2021

    This 5 day course costing $700 is designed as an introduction to fieldwork and scientific surveys. It is ideal for high school students and college students that have a general interest in science and nature. The cost includes full board at Green Glades West and all tuition costs

    • Habitat surveys for analyzing and comparing vegetation community structure
    • Sweep net, pitfall, flight intercept and light traps for invertebrates
    • Sound and spotlight surveys for amphibians
    • Mist net and point count surveys for birds
    • Camera trapping and distance sampling for large mammals
    • Pond and wetland surveys for alligators and otters
    • Quantifying carbon sequestration to help companies with Net Carbon Zero targets
    • Instruction on use of R to analyze wildlife data and prepare scientific reports

    For an extended summary of this course, click here.

    Reserve your place
  • Field Skills for Wildlife, Conservation, and Natural Resource Careers

    • Sunday 15 August – Saturday 21 August 2021

    This 5 day course costing $700 is ideal for undergraduate college and university students considering careers in natural resources, wildlife, conservation, and environmental issues. The course includes full board at Green Glades West and all tuition costs

    • A series of presentations from those working professionally in the wildlife conservation and climate change fields
    • Career paths for scientists and jobs in the environment
    • Habitat surveys for analyzing and comparing vegetation community structure
    • Sweep net, pitfall, flight intercept and light traps for invertebrates
    • Sound and spotlight surveys for amphibians
    • Mist net and point count surveys for birds
    • Camera trapping and distance sampling for large mammals
    • Pond and wetland surveys for alligators and otters

    For an extended summary of this course, click here.

    Reserve your place

Additional Information

  • 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 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.

Field Course Resources

Health & Safety

Risk is inherent in everything that we do in life. Without accepting and understanding these risks, we would not be able to do anything at all.

The first concern of all activities undertaken as part of Operation Wallacea expeditions is to gain an understanding of the environments we will be working in, and from this to reduce risk to health and safety as far as is possible.

After an independent assessment Operation Wallacea has been awarded the Learning Outside the Classroom badge for safety and quality.

You can find general information about Opwall’s approach to Health and Safety in the about us section here, or documents specific to this expedition below.

Travel Information

Please read each of the sections below carefully. They provide important information about your field course at Green Glades West. Should you require further assistance please do not hesitate to contact your nearest Operation Wallacea office.


Travelling to and from the expedition



The course attendees will meet at 2pm on the Sunday start date in Miami International Airport, for a 2:30pm departure.


Return flights from Miami airport can be booked from 2pm onwards.

Students over 16 years of age can travel independently.

Internal Travel

Groups will be transferred from Miami Airport by coach to and from the site (approx. 1.5hrs).

Additional Nights

As part of the internal travel package, it is possible to arrange additional nights in Miami before and after your field course, in addition to the relevant airport transfers. However, these nights will be at an additional cost – please contact us for more details.




For all COVID-19 information please visit this page.


Carbon Offsetting


By joining an Operation Wallacea expedition you are contributing directly towards the study and protection of threatened biodiversity, bringing significant financial benefits to small local communities, and working towards protecting valuable carbon stocks from deforestation. We are extremely proud of the impact we and our volunteers have had over the past two decades, creating a significant benefit to the environment.

However, we want to do more. Specifically, we want to make Operation Wallacea completely carbon neutral. As an organisation we offsetting our own emissions from staff travel (both road and air) and from running our offices. But we also want to encourage all our participants to offset, at the very least, the carbon emissions from their own international flights – and ideally more. To do this we will be supporting the Wallacea Reforestation Initiative in partnership with our sister charity the Wallacea Trust (UK Charity 1078362), and you can read more about this exciting project here that takes a new approach to tropical reforestation that benefits not only climate, but biodiversity and livelihoods too.

For more information on Opwall’s Carbon Offsetting click here

How to Calculate Your Donation Amount

Once booked and we’ve received your flight details, you’ll receive an email from us with a recommended donation amount, where we take the exact flight routes you’ve booked on to for your expedition, and run them through the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) carbon calculator. This calculator can be found here and the method used is found here. This gives us the total estimated amount of carbon your flights will emit into the atmosphere, and we assign a value of $10 USD (or £7.69 GBP) per ton of carbon. We only used the flights that we’re aware of, so if you have any more you may want to up the donation!

To calculate your carbon footprint you can use one of the many carbon calculators on line such as My ClimateTreedomInternational Student Carbon Footprint Challenge and many others. If you’re happy with an estimate, a £15 donation will cover the carbon produced by the flights in more than 95% of cases.

To donate, click the button below.

Kit List

Recommended Items – To print the list below click here


Insurance documents – Bring a copy of your insurance details
Photocopy of identification used for flights – We ask you to bring this in case your identification (eg drivers license) goes missing. So keep a copy in your hand luggage and main luggage, separate to your actual identification

Hand Luggage
Valuables – Anything valuable including your identification (passport or drivers license), money, cell phone, camera
Personal medicine – It must have the original packaging/labelling
Change of clothes – Including spare underwear
Head lamps/ head torches (bring spare) – Essential for your expedition, so this is not something you want to lose
Toiletries – Toothbrush and wet wipes
Travel sheet or liner – A very light travel sheet or sleeping bag liner is good to carry with you

Essential Kit
Backpack, rucksack, or hold-all – 50-70 L. You won’t need to carry the bag too far, therefore a true rucksack is not essential, but advisable over a duffel bag. Avoid bringing a hard suitcase.
Waterproof plastic bags – Supermarket zip lock bags are perfect (varying sizes) to keep kit dry in the event of rain
Small day rucksack/backpack – 20-30 L. For fieldwork and hang luggage during travel
Sleeping bag – It will stay warm at night, so a lightweight sleeping bag should be suitable
Hat with brim – Prevent sunburn/dehydration/sunstroke which is a big risk. Lots of the surveys may be in areas where you will be exposed directly to the sunlight. You will need something to offer relief from the sun.
Small towel/sarong – Travel towel, small/thin towel or a sarong. Do not bring a standard towel
Water bottle/platypus – At least 2 L capacity – ESSENTIAL. Many prices and styles available.
Head lamp/head torch, and or flashlight/torche – ESSENTIAL. Petzl, Black Diamond, LED Lenser or other high quality light highly recom-mended. Ideally, bring a head torch that has a red light function so not to attract insects.
Spare batteries – Good idea to have spares for any electrical equipment like your head lamp. Re-charging equipment is not always possible
Wake-up alarm – This can be a simple wristwatch, or an alarm on a phone
Sunglasses – A basic pair for sun protection
Notebook and pencil – You may want to take notes during lectures, or keep a field diary
Tablet or laptop – This is required for the statistics portion of the field course

Clothing and Footwear Essentials (Remember your weight restrictions for flights.)
2 pairs lightweight long trousers – They should fit slightly loose. It’s preferable to have ones that zip off and convert into shorts.
2-3 pairs shorts – See comment above-will only need one pair
4-6 t-shirts – Loose fitting and fast drying is preferable
1 warm fleece – Non-bulky if possible, useful for flights and at nighttime.
2 loose long sleeved shirts/tops – Something loose and lightweight to cover arms in the forest and the evenings
Underwear – Enough for one week. Females – 2-3 bras
Nightwear – Something comfortable to sleep in
6 pairs of hiking socks – Quick drying materials are best for this – e.g. avoid cotton
Waterproof poncho – You only need a very lightweight, waterproof cover, so something like a poncho is ideal
Rubber boots/rain boots – ESSENTIAL! Longer boots that approach knee height are best. Avoid very short ones.
Sandals/crocs/flip-flops – Anything that is comfortable to wear in camp that allows your feet to air and has a steady grip
Sneakers/tennis shoes – Shoes to cover your feet and offer a steady grip. (These may not be necessary depending on choice above—eg Crocs or Keens)

It is a good idea to keep one set of clothing clean for your flights to and from the country, this makes your travel and the people around you more comfortable. There will be the chance to hand wash your own clothes if you wish, so bring biodegradable washing liquid. You may also want to consider an additional set of clothes to wear during ‘downtime.’
Remember you need to travel light. Label your baggage, clothes and kit; there are many volunteers, and some may have the same or similar items to you.

Toiletries (Good tip to travelling light is to get into small groups to combine things like toiletries, foot powder and sun block, as you don’t all need to bring a bottle each!)
Toiletries – Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, hair and body wash
Insect repellent – ‘Mosi-Guard’ or something similar is an effective, environmentally friendly insect repellent that does not contain DEET, as is ‘Skin so soft’ by Avon or Ecoguard. DEET based repellents are not recommended, so we can minimize our impact on the environment; they are very strong, can dissolve plastic and you cannot wear products containing DEET for many of the surveys where DEET will harm the wildlife encountered. See: www.alternativeinsectrepellent.co.uk
Sun cream – SPF30 minimum
Biodegradable washing liquid – You will have the chance to wash some of your clothes if you wish, but if you pack correctly, it shouldn’t be necessary for the week.

Toiletries should be ‘green’ or biodegradable to minimize the impact on the environment. Most biodegradable soaps are multi-use. Sanex 0%, Lush, The Body Shop, Dr Bronner’s and many health stores offer ’green’ detergents.

Medical Kit (Staff will be carrying medical kits and the medical provision on site is excellent. However, there are some items listed below you should carry yourself (as appropriate)
Rehydration salts – ESSENTIAL. Please bring 8-10 sachets
Antihistamine tablets – Drowsy & non-drowsy
Antihistamine cream – Bite/sting relief cream
Paracetamol/aspirin – For headaches etc.
Antiseptic wipes – Always handy
Plasters/ band aids – Assorted sizes. Blister plasters are more expensive but can be handy
Hand sanitizer – Always useful
Sanitary towels/tampons – Travel can disrupt your cycle, so don’t assume you won’t need them. Tampons are not available in the Amazon forest!
Any prescription medicines personal to yourself – It must have the original packaging/labelling. Bring enough for the duration of your expedition

Optional Extras
Camera – If you have one bring it – you will come back with some amazing pictures. Keep it in a zip-lock bag or dry bag with silica gel packets.
Binoculars – Can be useful on certain surveys; Opwall staff will have their own on-site but you should consider brining your own if you have a pair. Ideal to have a few pairs amongst the group. Inexpensive pairs are available on Amazon (8×40)
IPod/music player/cards/book – There will be some down time during the field course and long journeys where you may want some form of entertainment.

Spending money will be required for meals before and after your expedition, as well as to cover per-sonal expenditure. This includes food and souvenirs you wish to purchase while travelling.
Please factor in these values when deciding how much money to bring with you, and organize a con-tingency fund for emergencies.
– Meals in airport transit $10-20
– Snacks in Florida $1-5 USD per item
– Souvenirs range greatly in price depending on the item
We recommend bringing approximately $100-$250 spending money for the expedition.


Wallace House, Old Bolingbroke, Spilsby, Lincolnshire PE23 4EX, UK
| +44 (0) 1790 763194 or +44 (0) 1522 405667 | info@opwall.com