FdSc Ecology and Conservation Management

About the course

The course is delivered at University Centre Myerscough and awarded by the University of Central Lancashire. This course has been designed for students wishing to pursue a career within the conservation and environmental sector. There is a growing demand for conservation advisers and particularly for ecological surveyors, because environmental legislation stipulates that environmental impact assessments have to be undertaken in an increasing number of situations. As a result of this, one of the major aims of the course is to equip you with identification, survey and data handling skills needed for this sort of work.

Course modules

Year 1

Ecology

This is taught at UCLan and investigates climate change and some of the possible impacts on biodiversity. In addition, you will be introduced to the ecological principles of competition, predation, population dynamics and landscape ecology.

Ecology and Identification of Native Species (1.5 module)

Identification techniques are key to being an effective ecologist / countryside manager. You will be taught how to identify animals in the field and a range of plants and invertebrates in the laboratory. The module also covers mammal survey techniques such as field signs and trapping methods, including camera traps

Academic and Vocational Skills

A module designed to enable students to maximise their performance both on the course and in the industry to kick start a strong degree and excellent career in the sector. Students will gain first-hand experience using a relevant industry environment to develop academic, practical and technical skills. Students will record and reflect on their own personal development during the module. The module is fundamental to the ethos of foundation degrees in providing engagement in a professional environment and should inspire students through study on the ‘Industry Project’ module at level 5

Essential Plant and Soil Science

This module aims to provide students with an essential knowledge of plant biology and physiology. In addition, the nature and role of soil properties in supporting plant growth and the importance of sustainable soil management will be examined. The module will also develop skills in analysis and presentation of data, report writing and give students experience of using a range of laboratory equipment.

Geographical Information Systems and Semi-natural Habitats (1.5 module)

Semi-natural habitats in the UK are under increasing pressure from pollution, urban development, agriculture and poor management practice. This module aims to explore the ecological value of these habitats, some of the threats to them and the methods used to ensure their sustainable management. In addition, you will be introduced to survey techniques used to classify and monitor these habitats and Geographical Information Systems used to map and record this survey data and you will be taught how to use the software to create professional reports showing the distribution of habitats and species.

Year 2

Global Wildlife Conservation

This aims to develop knowledge of international conservation initiatives and techniques to monitor wild animals. The module will also develop an understanding of the impacts of global economic development and wildlife trade on endangered species and the implications for in situ conservation programmes.

Business and Entrepreneurism (Option)

The overall aim of this module is to examine the entrepreneurial process and develop the entrepreneurial mindset by examining personal attributes and characteristics necessary to take an enterprising idea forward and formulate a successful business. Business planning skills will therefore be developed to ensure that the key elements of business such as marketing and finance are competently addressed to aid sustainable business plans.

Ecological Survey Techniques

This will introduce you to the techniques used to survey birds, vegetation, amphibians, butterflies and other invertebrates. In addition, you will be given an overview of the legislation and methodology behind Environmental Impact Assessments. Part of this module is taught as a week-long field trip to a range of habitats in the North West during the summer.

Industry Project

Here the expectation is students apply the practical, technical and professional skills developed in Year 1 to a relevant self-driven project within the industry. Using a structured work environment students identify a suitable project, and collaborate with their supervisor in developing and managing the project, and reporting on the outcomes. Students will be encouraged to use the project to develop professional relationships and target their chosen career options along with creating a positive digital footprint.

Managing the Agricultural Environment

Students will evaluate some of the impacts of recent changes in farming practice (in the UK) on plants and animals living in agricultural habitats such as moorland, upland rough grazing, lowland pastures, silage, crops and field margins. Strategies for the conservation of farmland biodiversity are investigated, as is the concept of ecosystem services which is a way of attributing economic value to the environment.

Research Methods (Option)

This will introduce concepts of statistical testing and further develop skills in presenting and interpreting results of scientific investigations. The module will give you vital skills in formulating research questions and designing an effective experiment which is particularly valuable for those who wish to continue studying for a top up degree.

Woodland and Veteran Tree Management

This module considers how trees and woodlands may be best managed to deal with the pressures that impact on them. Students will learn to assess trees and woodland as environmental, social and economic assets, as well as developing the decision making skills needed to manage conflicting uses and opinions.

Entry requirements & additional information

Entry requirements

5 GCSE passes at Grade C or above (including Maths and English or equivalent)

Plus 48 UCAS Tariff points from one or more of the following:

· 2 A-levels (A2), at least one at C or above

· BTEC/C&G Level 3

· 2 Scottish Highers at C or above

· 3 Irish Highers at C or above

· International Baccalaureate at 24 points

· NVQ Level 3 in a relevant discipline

AS levels, BTEC Subsidiary Diploma and Scottish Intermediate 2s may be used to contribute to entry requirements but they are not sufficient for entry on their own. Alternative equivalent qualifications will also be considered positively.

Applicants who believe they may be eligible for Accreditation of Prior Certificated and/or Experiential Learning (APCL/APEL) for certain modules will be considered on an individual basis.

Applicants for whom English is a second language must be able to demonstrate proof of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) at level 6.0 (with no component score lower than 5.5) or equivalent.

All offers may be subject to successful interview

Learning and assessment

Learning Environment:

Learning activities on the course are diverse, including lectures, laboratory practicals, tutorials, site visits (including a one week field trip) and workshops. This course makes the most of the diverse range of habitats and farmland found in the NW of England and our contact with various environmental organisations. Students will be expected to undertake extensive independent study and research to support lectures, site visits and assessments.

Assessment:

Students will face a variety of assessments including survey reports, management plans, essays, exams, group and individual presentations, individual study projects and case studies based on work experience.

Additional Information:

The course has a one week, non-residential field trip (usually the last week in June) during which students will meet on a daily basis at college and will visit a range of habitats (including protected sites and nature reserves) in NW England and N Wales. This will be an opportunity to see and identify a wide range of plants and animals found in this part of the world.

What work experience can I get?

This will be based in an environmental organisation and will be assessed in the Academic and Vocational Skills module in the first year and the Industry Project module in year 2. In addition, students are strongly advised that any further work experience will enhance their prospects of employment. Students already working for an environmental or similar organisation will not need to carry out any additional work experience, however they will still need to submit work based assignments to complete the course.

Progression

On successful completion of the course, students may apply for the BSc (Hons) Rural Resource Management (top-up) run here at Myerscough College

Careers

Examples include countryside ranger, ecological surveyor, farm conservation advisor, education officer, and fisheries manager. Many job opportunities exist within the conservation and commercial sectors, and potential employers include the Environment Agency, River Trusts, Natural England, Local Authorities, National Trust, Canal and Rivers Trust, Wildlife trusts and private consultancy.

Myerscough College has excellent links with Lancashire County Council, Wyre Borough Countryside Service, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, RSPB, National Trust, Ribble Rivers Trust, Arnside and Silverdale AONB and Local Environmental consultants.

Professional accreditations

Students will be encouraged to form links with local and national environmental organisations such as the National Trust, The Wildlife Trusts, Local Authorities, National Parks and AONBs, River conservation trusts and Ecological Consultants.

Special requirements

Extra Costs:

Additional costs for opportunities and items that are optional for the course include:

· Waterproofs boots - £80

· Binoculars – £150

Countryside Studies

The management of land for the conservation of flora and fauna, general recreation, environmental education and urban regeneration requires a blend of skills. These include an understanding of ecological principles, a sound knowledge of management and the practical ability to carry out conservation techniques – from river catchment systems to rural and coastal habitats.

Many job opportunities exist within the conservation, gamekeeping and commercial sectors, and as part of your progamme you will have the opportunity to develop countryside craft skills such as hedgelaying and drystone walling, useful for a range of future careers.

Our Partnership with UCLan

All our Higher Education programmes are awarded by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). Myerscough College is an Associate School of the University of Central Lancashire, a dynamic, vibrant and contemporary university located in Preston city centre. UCLan is one of the largest universities in the UK with world-leading and internationally excellent research areas. It offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses.