Northeast Section: Student Field Course
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2020 Wildlife Field Course
May 17 – 30, 2020
Presented by Northeast Section, The Wildlife Society
The 2020 course has been cancelled due to COVID-19. Please contact Dr. John McDonald (email@example.com) with any questions.
Why a field course?
The Section views the training and professional development of students in college and university wildlife programs as a vital part of it’s mission. We have detected, through a variety of channels, the sense among our members that there has been a decrease in the amount of field-based learning that colleges and universities can provide students in the current academic environment. Specifically, few schools today can offer a “wildlife field camp” experience to their students. There are a variety of reasons for this, but the net effect is that though most schools do offer various forms of field-based learning through regular courses and labs during their semesters, the type of experiential learning that can take place at a field camp is not required or readily available to most undergraduate students. At a time when many incoming students have not had ready access to the type of outdoor experiences that shaped previous generations of wildlife professionals, the Section members think the field camp experience is more important than ever.
What types of activities will be offered?
You will be taught by seasoned professionals in each field and will learn first hand what goes on in the day-to-day lives of a wildlife professional.
This course will provide hands-on experience in a variety of skills including:
- Trapping of small mammals
- Use of chemical immobilization equipment
- Map and compass use
- GPS use
- Wildlife education tools (e.g. Project WILD, Aquatic Project WILD)
- Habitat mapping, bird and herptile surveys
- Discussion sessions on careers and current wildlife conservation and management issues with professional biologists
- Identification of common trees and plants
Click here to read John McDonald’s article on the field course, which was included in the November/December 2017 issue of The Wildlife Professional.
Click here for a blog post on the USFWS site from a past student.
The Section’s Summer 2016 newsletter features an article from a student that attended the course.
What did students have to say about the Field course?
“I’ve learned more in the past couple of weeks than in any course I’ve ever taken.”
“This course was an amazing experience. So glad I came.”
“Fricken awesome!” This course exceeded my expectations. I learned so much, it has increased my interest in this field.”
“… I probably learned more in these two weeks than in my whole college career.”
“The hands-on and personal connection with the instructors was wonderful. I cannot thank you enough for such an opportunity that I will use for the rest of my career. Great job!”
“I feel incredibly grateful for being able to be a part of this course. Not only did I learn many more aspects of wildlife management than I expected to, but I feel like I’m more prepared and experienced in field skills than most people at my University who haven’t take a course like this.”
Check out our Facebook group with hundreds of photos of students and professionals in action at the Field Course!
Read a Report on the 2011 Course by John McDonald in the 2011-12 Winter Section Newsletter, pages 4-6.
What’s in it for me?
You can earn 3 or 6 undergraduate or graduate credits through Castleton University in Vermont that can be transferred back to your home institution! In addition, there are unparalleled networking opportunities with your peers and practicing biologists from across the Region.
Who is eligible?
This field course is open to undergraduate and graduate students, with preference given to members of The Wildlife Society or a student chapter. Recent graduates (either undergrads or graduate students) or returning students are also welcome to apply and attend the course. The course will be filled on a first-come first-served basis up to a maximum of 20 students. If you are interested in taking part, sign up early!
So, when is it, where is it, and how much will it cost?
May 17 – 30, 2020
$950 includes 3 course credits and room and board. An additional 3 credits, for a total of 6, can be arranged by request of the student and upon payment of an additional fee. Please contact John McDonald for details if you are interested. You should inquire with your home school as to how many credits they will accept before signing up for more than 3.
Kehoe Conservation Camp in Castleton, VT. This facility is centrally located in the Northeast, situated on Lake Bomoseen in southwestern Vermont. It is located on 120 acres of land and is within four miles of Castleton University and eight miles of three state Wildlife Management Areas totaling 2,243 acres.
Students must arrange their own transportation to the course. There is plenty of parking for those driving and you may be able to arrange a car pool/ride share once we know who is enrolled. For students coming from longer distance or without a car, Amtrak has service to Castleton, VT (http://www.amtrak.com/home); the train station is only 4 miles from the Kehoe camp and we can pick you up there. In past years, students traveling by air have flown to the Albany, NY airport and caught the Amtrak train at the Albany station. If you plan to travel by train and the same train schedule is in operation as in past years, you will need to travel on the Saturday prior to the course. It is fine to arrive at the camp a day early.
The 2020 course is full but interested students may contact Dr. John McDonald (firstname.lastname@example.org) to see if any late openings occur.
For more information, contact:
John E. McDonald, Jr., Ph.D
Northeast Section TWS
159 River Road
Worthington, MA 01098
The New England, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania Chapters of TWS, have offered full or partial scholarships for students enrolled at colleges and universities in those jurisdictions in past years. Check the Chapter websites for applications and deadlines.