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Wildlife Biology Awards - and Finale

Small mammal surveying

Small mammal surveying

17 November 2010

An Award Ceremony will take place during the evening of Wednesday 17 November for the 2008-10 cycle of the Certificate in Wildlife Biology. The awards will be presented by Professor Juliet Brodie, President of the British Phycological Society and Chair of Botanical Research at the Natural History Museum, London.

An Award Ceremony will take place during the evening of Wednesday 17 November for the 2008-10 cycle of the Certificate in Wildlife Biology. The awards will be presented by Professor Juliet Brodie, President of the British Phycological Society and Chair of Botanical Research at the Natural History Museum, London.

The Award Ceremony will celebrate the hard work and achievement of the 21 students who have successfully finished this course. Over the past two years they have regularly attended lectures in the School of Biological Sciences and field trips to sites around South West England. Much of the teaching has taken place late on weekday evenings and at weekends. While others have slept, the School has been alive with the enthusiasm of the wildlife biology students as they immersed themselves in learning.

Although the award ceremony will be a celebration of the students’ achievements, it will also be a sombre occasion as the Certificate in Wildlife Biology will now be closing. No new students will be admitted to the course.

Originally established to provide a route into higher education for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, the Certificate in Wildlife Biology started in 1999 as an “access course”, a method of widening participation. Young people who had failed to achieve good A-level grades at school but who showed the potential to do well at university were encouraged to enrol. If they did well they could then progress onto full-time study towards a BSc in a biological subject.

Worth 120 credit points at Level 1, the course was equivalent to the first year of a full-time degree programme. A total of 180 hours of lectures, 84 hours of practicals and field trips and a 6 month research project were involved. Assessment was carried out at L1 standard.

Over the past ten years the number of students completing the Certificate in Wildlife Biology has risen steadily. In 2001 only 6 students finished the course but by 2003 the number had grown to 10 and now, in November 2010, a total of 21 students will be receiving their awards. The demography of the course has also changed: many older students now use the training it provides to launch a new career in the environment sector.

Students from the Certificate in Wildlife Biology have progressed to BSc degrees at a number of British universities including Bangor, Bath, Exeter, Leeds and Oxford. Many have done extremely well. Several students have completed Masters and one has gained a PhD. Several students are now working as professional ecologists in the countryside sector.

The course was unusual in that the bulk of teaching was carried out by wildlife experts from organizations including Bristol Zoo, the Food and Environment Research Agency, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and the County Wildlife Trusts. The School’s academic staff was not involved but our research fellows played a valuable teaching role. Dr Andrew Kennedy, who has coordinated the course since 2004, wishes to thank all the students and tutors. The enthusiasm and good spirits of the participants has made it a thoroughly enjoyable – and memorable - experience.

As one of our newest graduates recently wrote, “the Certificate in Wildlife Biology has changed my life – despite the challenges of the coursework I can honestly say it’s the best thing I’ve ever done!”

Wildlife Biology students on plant surveying field course in Dorset
Wildlife Biology students on plant surveying field course in Dorset
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