Countryside study tips for me and you: Preparing for the course

Just round the corner, I will be starting an M.S.c Wildlife and Conservation Management course through Scottish Rural University College accredited by Glasgow University. All the course will be done online and over a period of three years. I will have 4 modules in the first year and 3 in the second year, and in the final year a dissertation undertaken on research of my choice. I am looking forward to starting next month! The course will be starting through a virtual study weekend due to the current circumstances of COVID-19. I have been notified of reading topics and that we will be discussing and debating countryside, environmental and wildlife issues during this study session.

Here are the modules I will be doing-

  • Ecological Survey and Assessment
  • Principles of Interpretation and Education for Sustainability
  • Planning and Sustainability
  • Farming, Forestry and the Environment
  • Advances in Land Management
  • Managing the Outdoors for People and the Natural Environment
  • Topical Issues in Countryside Management
  • Dissertation

I have been trying to prepare myself as best as I can be doing various different activities.

COVID-19 has made many companies and organisations use technology to a whole new level. Now there are more opportunities online and no traveling is needed, which is a bonus for the environment! The FSC has really taken on-board this change and started doing virtual meet-ups in other words webinars. There has been many interesting presentations made by different companies and organisations about their work and specific projects. These webinars are useful resources and example case studies especially when I will be starting the course next month.

Ecological Survey and Assessment is one of my modules on the course and I have been doing specific preparation for this module. I enjoy identifying plants and flowers and learning about their ecology and habitat. This module has prompted me to further develop my skills and knowledge about plant and flower ecology through using various keys. I am slowly learning how to use the Francis Rose Identification to wildflowers one of the hardest keys to learn but reliable if you can use this identification key properly. I am more comfortable using the FSC identification key charts and booklets.

The Wildflower Key by Francis Rose

This is a Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), a plant that I’ve grown up with around the farm an easy plant for me to identify, however despite knowing what the plant is, using an identification key and understanding terms for plant structure makes it difficult to key out the plant from the Francis Rose book. Starting with plant you know will definitely help you to understand how to use the vegetative key.

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

Apart from webinars and using identification charts, reading is an essential part of my perspiration. To learn about threats to UK wildlife and countryside, I have been reading some sections of a book called Silent Summer by Norman Maclean. It is a good book for bringing threats to wildlife clear concise manor and gives useful case studies. This book really does bring the harsh reality of the state that wildlife is in today and can often make you feel deflated after reading about different environmental issues.

Silent Summer: The State of Wildlife in Britain and Ireland

You might have seen this bird around. This bird a House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) and some of you might see them often nesting under the roof of your house and in the garden. I was shocked to discover but House Sparrows are on the red list of endangered species due to large population declines.

A picture of a House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) from Iolo Williams Nature Book.

To get more up to date resources, I have been looking at websites such as the Forestry Journals, Science Direct, RSPB, DEFRA studies. Reading back on some topics such as forestry pathogens brought back some of the lectures I had at Harper Adams University and how much I enjoyed learning.

If you are thinking of doing a degree or undertaking a degree in Countryside Management, I hope you found this blog useful to develop skills and where to look for resources when writing assignments.

If I have more study tips and resources, I will keep you updated in my future blogs.

Bye for now!

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