Environment Network - Fieldwork for the new normal


  • Ian Francis Clark University of South Australia
  • Eddie van Etten Edith Cowan University
  • Pauline Grierson The University of Western Australia
  • Marthe Monique Gagnon Curtin University
  • Jennifer Verduin Murdoch University


Earth and Environmental Sciences, Fieldwork, New technologies, Soft skills


A new approach to fieldwork


The Australian Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (ACEDD) is concerned that reduced funding and internal bureaucratic procedures are limiting the ability to conduct field trips for students.  In recent times many universities have either used COVID as an excuse to shut down or significantly reduce field trips for students, or have done so as a cost cutting measure.

The benefits of conducting fieldwork and going on a field trip are significant and include critical learning opportunities for students that are not covered in the classroom.  Field trips are widely recognised as an essential part of undergraduate programs because they provide every student with real-world experiences, strengthening observation and perception skills, and provide the opportunity to practice skills such as teamwork, project management, and decision-making that are not offered in standard class-room courses.  Fieldwork also prepares students for postgraduate research.


Presenters and participants at the workshop will describe a variety of approaches that are being used to overcome the barriers to providing worthwhile fieldwork, including catering for the needs of student participants, obtaining external funding to reduce institutional and student costs, and incorporating new technologies such as drones and VR headsets.

The goal of the workshop is to provide participants with information and ideas that will help them educate our Administrators that cancelling or reducing fieldtrips is bad educational practice.

Author Biographies

Ian Francis Clark, University of South Australia

Natural and Built Environments, UniSA STEM

Eddie van Etten, Edith Cowan University

School of Science

Pauline Grierson, The University of Western Australia

School of Biological Sciences

Marthe Monique Gagnon, Curtin University

School of Molecular and Life Sciences

Jennifer Verduin, Murdoch University

School of Veterinary and Life sciences, Environmental and Conservation Sciences