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"An intense but very enjoyable experience" - field courses return to Anglesey

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15 November 2022

This autumn – for the first time in two years after pandemic restrictions lifted – a Harper Adams field course has returned to Anglesey in North Wales.

The field course allows our students to apply their learning outside the classroom, and to shape their projects to reflect the natural world around them – as well as to have a lot of fun (even if the weather sometimes disagreed!)

Among the academics who took part in this year’s course was Dr Andy Wilcox, Head of the Agriculture and Environment Department – who caught key moments on his social media and wrote us this blog about the week.

 

Final year Environment, Wildlife, Geography and Zoology students joined us for a residential event - part of the snappily titled “Environment and Geography Field Course” module.

It was a delight to be able to run this course again, after two years of pandemic restrictions had put our usual plans on hold.

To prepare for the course, students spend the first five weeks in the classroom with activities that facilitate the development of a group project before we depart to beautiful Anglesey.

 

 

Students then conduct two full days of field work at Newborough Warren (with the kind permission of Natural Resources Wales.)

Newborough – if you are yet to visit - has significant areas of woodland, sand dune and estuary habitat.

 

 

Some of the projects that the students designed included investigating the probing behaviour of wading birds, assessing habitat quality around raven roosts, and looking at the impact of disturbance on footpaths within sand dunes.

Unfortunately, this year we were on the receiving end of some very wet and windy weather which slowed down progress.

 

 

Our students were very stoic, worked hard and completed their fieldwork tasks (mostly) without complaint.

 

On the third full day of the Field Course, students spend their time sorting and analysing their data, before delivering an assessed presentation with group peer review on the following day.

The presentation focuses on data summary, analysis and interpretation - and this also has direct relevance to our students’ Honours Research Projects.

 

 

Field courses are an intense but very enjoyable experience. They are an excellent tool for teaching practical application and also for getting to know our students better. We stayed at Anglesey Outdoors – comfortable hostel style accommodation with all our catering provided.

 

 

I would also like to say a huge thank you to my awesome accompanying staff team of Nicola Randall, Ed Harris and Laura Vickers.

 

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