Module: Practical Conservation Skills

Module details

  • Module code

  • Module leader

    Ian Grange
  • Module Level

  • Module credits

  • Min study time

    200 hours
  • Contact hrs

    170 hours
  • Teaching Period

    Semester 1

Module content

The module will start with a basic introduction to the range of skills needed by employees within the various conservation sectors and will require students to complete an initial personal development plan, which will form the basis of their skills portfolio. Students will then complete three compulsory half-day health and safety workshops: emergency first aid, manual handling and basic field-work safety, prior to commencing the main activities of the module.

The main activities will be two-fold: firstly the development of practical field-work skills relevant to environmental, wildlife and heritage management achieved through a one day per week programme; and secondly the completion of a range of practical skills courses, delivered by the RAU’s Rural Innovation Centre (RIC).

First year students will be supervised and mentored by year 2 students for the practical activities, as part of their 2134 module assessment. All practical activities will be overseen by RAU staff. First year students will assess second year students as part of their preparation for the year 2 supervisory skills.

In addition, students will be required to undertake a thirty-day work-based learning placement, between year 1 and the start of year 2. Aspects of this will contribute to the year 2 Supervisory and Mentoring Skills module.

Module outcomes

To achieve credit for this module, students must be able to demonstrate:

  1. An understanding of health and safety requirements as applied to machinery and equipment operation in conservation activities.
  2. Certificates of competence for one mobile, one hand-held piece of machinery and an estate management skill.
  3. A knowledge of maintenance schedules for a specific conservation/ heritage site.
  4. An ability to reflect on personal performance and to identify knowledge, skills and training needs relevant to future career pathways


Assessment Description Weighting
Coursework In class H&S test: Maintaining a safe working environment.
Coursework Site activity schedule 50%
Coursework Self reflective report based on an initial PDP and incorporating training and skills development during the year 50%
Coursework Machinery operation certificates of competence

Key texts

Students should be familiar with the content of at least one of the following:

  • Cottrell, S. (2013). The Study Skills Handbook. 4th edition. Palgrave Macmillan
  • Hughes, P. and Ferrett, E. (2015). Introduction to Health and Safety in Construction: for the NEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety
  • NEBOSH (2017). Health and safety at work: A course book for the NEBOSH award in health and safety at work.

Supporting texts

  • Agate, E. (1998) Hedging: a practical handbook BTCV Publications.
  • Agate, E. (2000) Toolcare: a maintenance and workshop manual 2ND Edn. BTCV Publications.
  • Agate, E. (2000) Tree planting and aftercare: a practical handbook BTCV Publications.
  • Agate, E. (2001) Fencing: a practical handbook BTCV Publications.
  • Agate, E. (2002) Woodlands: a practical handbook 3rd edition. BTCV Publications.
  • Agate, E. (2004) Footpaths: a practical handbook rev edition. BTCV Publications.
  • Agate, E. and Brooks, A. (2001) Waterways and wetlands: a practical handbook BTCV Publications.
  • Brooks, A. and Agate, E. (2001) Sand Dunes: A practical handbook 2nd edition. BTCV Publications.
  • BTCV (2002) Generic risk assessment rev edn. BTCV Publications.
  • BTCV (2006) Health and safety overview for practical conservation projects: a guide to good practice for conservation groups and land managers BTCV Publications.
  • BTCV (2006) Practical conservation: advice for teachers BTCV Publications.
  • Agate, E. (2002). The Urban Handbook: a practical guide to community environmental work
  • Williams, G. (1987). Techniques and Fieldwork in Ecology. Bell and Hyman.
  • Jacobson, S.K. (2009) Communication skills for conservation professionals 2nd edition. Island Press.
  • Sykes, L. and Cohen, P. (2003) Conservation volunteering: how and why BTCV Publications.
  • Conservation Evidence. University of Cambridge
  • Environmental Conservation. Foundation for Environmental Conservation.
  • Conservation Biology. Society for Conservation Biology.