Welcome to the blog of the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences at the University of Northampton. This will keep you up to date with both student and staff activities.

The Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences includes staff with interests in biological sciences, conservation, ecology, environmental sciences, environmental statistics, geography and waste management. We offer a range of degree programmes and have a number of postgraduate research students. For more information about studying with us please visit http://www.northampton.ac.uk/.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Tropical field course opportunities available to students

A partnership between the Department and the Tropical Biology Association (TBA) is giving our students the opportunity to undertake conservation field work in Africa and Asia by taking part in one of their field courses in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Madagascar and Borneo.

The TBA is a non-governmental organisation that was established in 1993 and involves 44 university departments (including our own) and research institutions in its subscribing membership. The TBA’s offices are located in Cambridge (UK) and Nairobi, Kenya.

The TBA aims to promote expertise in tropical ecology and conservation by giving both students and conservation practitioners practical experience and training in management of biological resources, monitoring of biodiversity and research in tropical biology. In addition, participants on TBA courses learn the skills required for research project design and execution.

TBA courses are unique because they bring together in equal numbers African and European students and academics. The value added to the students’ degree studies is clear for both the African students (who encounter the most up to date ideas and techniques within the field) and for European students (who are exposed to the particular issues around tropical conservation biology, usually for the first time). This significantly increases their employability, and in fact previous European and African TBA alumni are now employed at universities or as conservation practitioners in their home countries and return each year to teach on TBA field courses.

This approach also enables continued exchange of expertise and funds after the courses by catalysing collaborative activities between European and African institutions. To date the TBA has trained some 1500 biologists from Africa, Asia and Europe and the USA during the more than 50 courses it has run since 1994. Although not strictly a social enterprise, nonetheless the TBA fulfils many of the criteria of being one as it works within the community of researchers and students (both in Europe and Africa), enhancing their expertise and employability. The TBA directly employs staff within the UK and Kenya and any profits made from fund raising and so forth are directed back to support TBA activities.

For more information on how to apply for one of the TBA’s field courses, visit their website: http://www.tropical-biology.org/