To develop an undergraduate field program for first year Wildlife and Conservation Biology students

SLE114: Designing your own field program: alternative assessment to the
Cape Conran fieldtrip
Weight: 50% (equivalent to the field workbook based on 4 days / 3 nights
in the field)
Due: 8pm Friday 25th September (week 10)
Submission: Dropbox on the unit site. You need to submit three files:

  1. The completed fieldtrip proforma (word doc in the
    assessment section on the unit site)
  2. Map 1 – showing the field study site location in
    relation to the closest major city and surrounding
    landscape
  3. Map 2 – a detailed map of the field study area and
    where each activity will take place
    Task: To develop an undergraduate field program for first year Wildlife
    and Conservation Biology students
    Please Note: This assessment piece is to be undertaken completely online.
    There is no requirement for you to undertake any site visits and
    all information must be obtained online. We do not have
    permission for you to go into the field to complete this
    assessment piece so please DO NOT undertake any site visits.
    Given the information will be collected online correct
    referencing is essential.
    Background:
    To obtain a career in the Wildlife and Conservation Biology field it is essential that
    students gain hands-on field based training that compliments the theory learnt and
    puts this theory into practice. Employers now insist that graduates have both the
    theoretical knowledge and the hands-on experience. To ensure that we meet this
    requirement it is essential that undergraduates partake in as much hands-on training
    as possible. Part of this training must involve fieldwork, ideally in remote areas for an
    extended period of time.
    As such, the Bachelor of Environmental Science (Wildlife and Conservation Biology)
    degree has three major fieldtrips imbedded throughout the course, one in each year
    level. To further enhance skills, these fieldtrips scaffold (i.e. build on previous skills
    learnt in the field) to ensure skills are being reinforced and extended on each trip.
    The first year fieldtrip to Cape Conran Coastal Park is an introductory field program
    that introduces key field techniques used in wildlife conservation and park
    management. It is essential that, through undertaking this fieldtrip, students gain
    firsthand experience on the basic field techniques so that they can build on this
    knowledge and experience as they move through the degree and into the workforce.
    Aims of this assessment piece:
    This assessment piece requires you to develop a field program (i.e. determine a
    suitable location; outline how certain activities will be undertaken and where; and the
    logistics required to successfully run the field program), specifically tailored to 20 first
    year Wildlife and Conservation Biology students. The fieldtrip must be located in a
    remote area of your choice and be 4 days and 3 nights in length. Please note: your
    field location cannot be Cape Conran Coastal Park. Through undertaking this
    assessment piece you will gain knowledge and experience in putting together a
    remote field program, the logistical considerations around undertaking wildlife
    conservation studies and the different field techniques used in wildlife research.
    Some background logistics about the trip:
    Number of students: 20
    Number of days: 4
    Number of nights: 3
    Transport: Hired buses (no aeroplanes or self-drive options)
    Distance: Must be less than 7 hours’ drive from a major city (you
    can choose a major city close to your current location as
    your starting point). Please note that your site cannot be
    Cape Conran Coastal Park.
    Food: Students will self-cater (i.e. bring their own food) and
    therefore your accommodation must include cooking
    facilities
    Time of year: You need to consider this carefully. What type of weather
    conditions are you after? Are the activities you are
    planning to undertake weather dependant? Keep in mind
    animal behaviours change throughout the year and can
    be influenced by weather conditions and temperatures.
    Make sure the weather is not too hot and not too cold –
    extreme temperatures can also cause problems in terms
    of student welfare and safety, as well as animal welfare
    issues.
    You need to choose FIVE activities from the list below. Please note: at least one of
    these activities must be small mammal trapping (options 1 or 2 – you can do both of
    these small mammal trapping options if you choose).
  4. Small mammal trapping using Elliott traps
  5. Small mammal trapping using Cage traps
  6. Camera traps
  7. Bird surveys
  8. Radio-tracking
  9. GPS and GIS
  10. Spotlighting
  11. Call playback
  12. Invertebrate surveys
    10.Other biodiversity surveys (such as frog surveys, reptile surveys, bat surveys)
    What you need to do
    As outlined above this assessment piece requires you to develop a 4 day 3 night
    fieldtrip for wildlife and conservation biology students. The fieldtrip needs to be
    located in a remote area and provide as much hands-on experience as possible.
    This assessment piece contains three sections:
  13. Section 1: Select a suitable fieldtrip site (30%)
  14. Section 2: Select five activities to be undertaken from the list provided (50%)
  15. Section 3: Develop the running schedule for the fieldtrip (20%)
    A proforma has been developed for you and you need to complete the details
    directly onto this proforma (please see the example proforma included in this
    assessment brief below for more details). A blank proforma has been provided in
    the assessment section of the unit site for you to complete.
    A summary of each section is provided here:
    Section 1: Selecting a suitable fieldtrip location (30%)
    This is an extremely important component of the assessment piece. Where exactly is
    the fieldtrip going to be located? Based on the information provided above you need
    to select a suitable field location.
     This can be anywhere in the world (ideally somewhere in the country and
    state/district/province that you are currently living in). Please note: your field
    location cannot be Cape Conran Coastal Park.
     Have a look at google maps for a suitable location – you need to consider
    what activities the students will be undertaking and select a location that
    caters for these activities. Remember that you need to include FIVE activities
    from the list above (with at least one activity being small mammal trapping). It
    is essential that you can undertake these activities in your chosen location. If
    these activities are not possible then you may need to choose either a
    different location or different activities to undertake.
     Keep in mind:
     Activities to be undertaken (from the list above)
     Suitable accommodation (fulfilling all requirements outlined above)
     Transport to the field location (distance, terrain)
     Transport to different sites within the field location to undertake the
    different activities (ideally, the majority of the activities should not
    require vehicle transport
     To complete Section 1 you will need to provide the following information
    directly into the proforma provided:
  16. Exact location of the field site – highlight on map 1 (see proforma for
    details)
  17. Justification as to why this field site was chosen. Importance of the site
    in ecological / conservation terms. Include background information of this
    field location. Who manages the area? Who are the stakeholders? Is it a
    protected area? What conservation efforts are undertaken in this area?
  18. What are the different habitat types in this location? For example
    coastal, rainforest, arid, heathland etc. This is really important in terms of
    the activities you are planning to run.
  19. What facilities are available in this field location? What type of
    accommodation is available? How many beds? Cooking facilities?
    Bathrooms? Explain how this site will cater for 20 students plus staff
    (need to consider how many staff will be needed). Please Note: This
    information needs to be obtained from websites or other published
    information. Under no circumstances should you contact the
    organization directly for this information.
  20. Transport to the site. How are you going to get to the site? If using buses
    – how many buses, how long is the trip, what type of terrain will the bus
    be driving through (e.g. highways, dirt roads, windy roads), how many
    breaks will the bus need and where will these breaks occur.
    Section 2: Selecting suitable activities to undertake on the field trip (50%)
    This section of the assignment requires you to describe in detail how each activity
    will be undertaken. Remember: you need to choose 5 activities from the list above
    (ensuring that at least one activity is small mammal trapping) and the activities that
    you select must be suitable to undertake in the field location you have selected. For
    example there is no point in undertaking bat surveys if there are no bat records in the
    area! It is essential that you do your homework on the site to ensure you have an
    understanding of what you expect to find.
     For each activity you need to provide the following information:
  21. Name of activity and location within the study site in which the activity will
    take place. Provide a written description of the area and show this location
    on map 2
  22. Explanation as to how you will get to the activity site i.e. walk from the
    accommodation or travel on buses
    Enter this information directly into the word doc proforma
    provided on the unit site and show the location on map 1
  23. A detailed explanation of how the activity will run. You need to include:
    a. Equipment needed – provide a list of the equipment and justify how many
    of each piece of equipment you will need
    b. A step by step explanation of how the activity will run
    c. The expected outcomes. This is really important! When undertaking
    wildlife surveys it is essential that you are familiar with what species are
    present in the area and therefore what you are likely to see, hear or trap.
    Expected outcomes can include both wildlife species expected to be
    detected and / or technical skills learnt by participants through using
    different wildlife research techniques.
    d. Animal ethics / animal welfare that needs to be taken into consideration.
    Please note: activities that do not involve animal welfare issues need to
    outline any potential risks or issues that students undertaking this activity
    may have and actions taken to minimize these risks.
    e. Steps you will take to minimize the stress to animals (that you outlined in
    the point above). Please note: activities that do not involve animal welfare
    issues need to outline any potential risks or issues that students
    undertaking this activity may have and actions taken to minimize these
    risks.
    Section 3: Developing the running schedule for the fieldtrip (20%)
    This section requires you to develop a schedule for your field program. By now you
    have selected your field location and developed your five activities so it is time to
    develop the schedule. A few points to keep in mind:
     The trip needs to run for 4 days and 3 nights
     The first morning will be spent travelling to the field site and the last afternoon
    will be spent travelling back home. This means you actually have half a day
    on day 1 for activities and half a day on day 4 for activities.
     You need to consider how many students will be in each group (keeping in
    mind a group of 20 is too big for the activities and therefore you need to split
    the group of 20 into smaller groups). This means you need to consider how
    students will be distributed between activities and how they will rotate
    activities, ensuring all students have the same opportunities
     How many staff will you need and what expertise must they have?
     When will the breaks be? How many breaks, how often and for how long?
     Time of day for each activity. Obviously you will not undertake spotlighting
    during the day. You also need to consider animal welfare here!
     Do you need to travel to different areas for each activity? If so how is this
    done? How long does it take?
    Enter this information directly into the word doc proforma provided on the unit site.
    Enter this information directly into the word doc proforma provided on the unit site
    Marking Criteria
    Section 1: Select a suitable fieldtrip site (30%)
    Section 2: Select five activities to be undertaken from the list provided (50%)
    Section 3: Develop the running schedule for the fieldtrip (20%)
    Please see mark allocations for each section above in the rubric on
    the unit site.
    Section 1: Selecting a suitable fieldtrip location (30%)
    Please see below a sample proforma for each section. You need to complete the word doc proforma on the unit site outlining the details of the
    fieldtrip location. The proforma provided on the unit site expands so that you can add as much detail as needed
    Fieldtrip site location
    Where is the fieldtrip site located?
  • What country, state/province/district and closest major city? Describe the area – different habitat types
  • Include TWO maps – can be taken from google maps or something similar:
    1) The location of the site in relation to major cities or landmarks.
    2) a map of the specific fieldtrip location i.e. a detailed map of the park/study area and where each activity will take place
    Travelling to the field location:
  • How far is the field site located from a major city (in terms of travel time on a bus)? Does the bus need to stop for breaks? If so
    where? What facilities are available at the rest stop?
  • How many buses?
  • What types of roads will the bus travel on? Highways/dirt roads/ windy roads etc. any implications here?
    Justification of site selection:
  • Background information about this park / protected area
  • Importance of the site in ecological / conservation terms
  • Different vegetation communities found in the park
  • Facilities contained in the park
  • Park uses (tourism, hunting, visitor services etc)
  • Stakeholders involved
  • Management arrangements i.e. who managers this park? What are the management goals?
    Accommodation within the field site:
  • Describe the accommodation available – cabins / hotels / camping
  • How much accommodation can this location cater for (must cater for at least 20 students plus staff) – how many staff are needed?
  • What facilities are available for cooking? How many bathrooms?
    Transport within the field location:
  • Where are each of your 5 activities going to be undertaken? Can you walk to each site from the accommodation? If you need a bus
    can buses drive safely to the different sites?
  • Mark each activity and site on map 2 above
    Section 2: Activities to be undertaken (50%)
    Complete the following table for all five activities. You will need to start a new table for each activity – the five tables have been provided for
    you to complete in the word proforma on the unit site. An example for small mammal trapping has been provided for you – this example only
    provides a couple of points to get you started – you will need to expand on this example.
    Activity 1: Small Mammal Trapping using Elliott traps
    Activity location:
  • Describe the area and reason why it is suitable for this activity
  • Clearly mark and label the exact location of this activity on your map 2 (which is now in section 1 of this assignment)
  • Explain how the students will get to the site
    Description of the activity:
  • Step by step explanation of how and when the activity will be undertaken
    Equipment needed:
  • List every piece of equipment needed
  • Include the number of each piece of equipment needed
  • For example:
  • Elliott traps (10 transects with 10 traps on each transects = 100 Elliott traps)
    Expected Outcomes:
  • List the species you would expect to see, hear or catch. Include both common and scientific names and the habitat types they are
    mostly likely to be detected in
  • For example:
  • Swamp Rat (Rattus lutriolus) – most likely found in heathy bushland
  • Agile antechinus (Antechinus agilis) – most likely found in woodland
    Please note: Expected outcomes can include both wildlife species expected to be detected and / or technical skills learnt through using
    different wildlife research techniques
    List all animal ethics / animal welfare issues associated with this activity and the measures to be undertaken to minimize these risks
    Animal Welfare Issue:
  • Animals getting wet in traps during heavy rain
    Potential solution:
  • Placing plastic bags over the traps
     Complete this table five times i.e. once for each of your five activities.
    Section 3: developing the running schedule for the fieldtrip (20%)
    Now that you have selected your field location and chosen your five activities it is now time to develop the schedule outlining how these
    activities will run over the four days away. Please note: the first morning will be spent travelling to the field site and the last afternoon will be
    spent travelling back home. This means you actually have half a day on day 1 for activities and half a day on day 4 for activities. In this schedule
    you need to consider how many students are in each group, ensuring that all students undertake all activities and all students get equal time
    and opportunities within each activity. Equity is everything here!
    Schedule: Day 1
  • Outline activities to be undertaken
  • Include start and finish times for each activity
  • Remember to allow for travel time if this is needed to move between activities
  • Regular breaks are also essential
    Schedule: Day 2
  • Outline activities to be undertaken
  • Include start and finish times for each activity
  • Remember to allow for travel time if this is needed to move between activities
  • Regular breaks are also essential
    Schedule: Day 3
  • Outline activities to be undertaken
  • Include start and finish times for each activity
  • Remember to allow for travel time if this is needed to move between activities
  • Regular breaks are also essential
    Schedule: Day 4
  • Outline activities to be undertaken
  • Include start and finish times for each activity
  • Remember to allow for travel time if this is needed to move between activities
  • Regular breaks are also essential
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