Fenner School Day Field Trips

Some changes anticipated for future years reflecting in changes in season, study focus and access to appropriate teaching sites. Please refer to the relevant course Wattle page or course convenor.
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Field-based teaching and learning activities form an integral and important part of many courses delivered by the Fenner School of Environment & Society. During your studies, you’ll be exposed to a variety a techniques for collecting, analysing and reporting field data. Fieldwork activities are designed to allow you to put the skills you’ve learned in the classroom into practice in new environments. More than 40% of our courses include field-based activities, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get out of the classroom and into the field. Our students get to work alongside world-leading researchers at field sites throughout the greater Canberra region.

Interested in participating? Read on.

Participating in trips can be a highlight of your university experience, however it is also important to think carefully about whether it is the right decision for you at this point in time. This page is to help you understand what the trip involves, so you can make an informed decision. The information is accurate to the best of our ability, however please be aware that trip plans can change at the last minute. If this may cause issues for you or you need additional information, please talk to the course convenor.

How we can help you participate

For most of our trips, there are lots of options for flexibility that may make it easier for you to take part. This page will tell you about some of them.  Keep in mind, it is not possible for us to anticipate every individual circumstance, so please contact the course convenor if you have other ideas for how we could help you participate. If you would like support discussing your needs with the course convenor or if your discussion didn't go as you expected, please contact the school accessibility contact.

How to participate?

Look out for the opportunities in various courses. 

If you can't participate

Access the respective course Wattle page or talk to the convenor about the significance of the field activity to the course's assessment tasks. While some trips may be compulsory, other trips are voluntary or can be replaced with alternate assessments.


Activity sites: highly variable. Forests, industrial sites, farms, national parks

The field-based teaching and learning activities of the School take place on the ANU’s Acton Campus as well as at a variety of sites (including agricultural properties) in Canberra and surrounds. Students should expect that they may be required to navigate man made and naturally occurring tracks, including walking on some uneven surfaces.

Accessibility implications will vary from course to course. To fully participate, students must be able to safely traverse the distance from the nearest vehicle access to the location of the field activities. The maximum distance of walking required in most activities would be 2-3 kms. Students who have difficulty with mobility should discuss their requirements with them with the course convener in the first week of the course. This consultation will allow the convener will take the students' needs into account in planning relevant activities and if the trip plans change (e.g. due to weather) and in emergency situations.

Travel: FSES vehicle pool 

Depending on the nature of the activity students will either walk or be driven by bus and/or small vehicles to applicable field sites. The School will make all transportation arrangements for participating students. If you need accessible transport, please talk to your course convenor during the first week of classes and we will investigate the options available. Students should refer to individual course WATTLE sites for detailed information about travel arrangements.

Food: bring your own if you need to 

Although the consumption of food does not typically form part of our field-based teaching and learning activities, students can bring their own food if needed.


There are no additional costs for our class-based field-based teaching and learning activities.

Note: Cost information for local and international field trips are provided on the separate trip information pages.

Health & wellbeing

Look after yourself: traveling to the site

Transit times can vary from 30 mis to 2 hrs in 12 seater minibuses. Students are encouraged to think about how to manage their physical and emotional well-being should these requirements be challenging. 

If you need to miss part of the trip due to health or other reasons, we can discuss alternative assessment arrangements.  You can also sit out individual activities while on the trip.

Respecting other students' needs

Students must act in a professional, respectful and responsible way at all times during the activity. Hosts at the field sites we visit have often generously made time to show us around and it is crucial that all students behave in a manner that reflects this. 

Students who do not meet these expectations will immediately be asked to leave and will not be able to attend any remaining visits. 

If you are unsure about the expectations or think your behaviour might be misinterpreted, please talk to the course convenor. We can clarify the expectations and work with you to ensure the any stakeholders we encounter aren't inadvertently left with the wrong impression.

Workload: 1-8 hours depending on trip

Students will board the mini-buses and depart from the FSES field services at the advertised time and then travel to the site. As a student group, listen and ask questions of the on-site host about the focus of the visit. Discussions are often prompted by teaching staff, but ideally students are driving the conversation through thoughtful and respectful questioning. As a student group we will walk to various locations within outdoor and indoor environments as directed by the on-site host.

Any students who perceive these activities as challenging are encouraged to discuss what options may exist to best facilitate their learning.

Clothes: Options for all weather

Field-based teaching and learning activities will require appropriate clothing. Appropriate clothing should be carried by students to suit weather conditions and in case of changing weather (e.g. jumper, jacket, rainwear, hat, sunglasses, sun-block). Any specialist protective clothing (safety helmets, high visibility vests and sturdy boots) will be provided by the School.

Please talk to the course convenor if you may have difficulty wearing particular protective clothing or may otherwise need individualised protective clothing.  A student can be excluded from a field trip by the academic supervisor if the individual does not carry adequate personal protective clothing or does not comply with requests from staff to wear allocated specialist attire.

Tasks & activities

Interpreting the visual features of the environment

Students will have to rely on their senses to scan for hazards while working in the field and to follow directions in emergencies.  If you have a sensory impairment, please discuss this with the course convener so we can put a plan in place to ensure your safety while on the trip.

Variable walking surfaces

Typically students have to reach for, move and manipulate objects while working in the field. If you think that you may have difficulty doing this, please discuss this with the course convener. We can consider whether there is equipment that may assist you to perform these tasks or whether other people can assist you to complete them.

Field presentations and discussions

Students will be required to participate in discussions in a variety of forms (including small group discussions) while working in the field. If you think that you may have difficulty doing this, please discuss this with the course convener so we can put a plan in place to help you.

Flexible field notes

Students may be required to take handwritten field notes and/or record data while working in the field. If you think that you may be unable to do this, please talk to the course convenor about alternatives (e.g. using an electronic device, recording verbal observations to write up later).

Working within a set schedule

There are pre-scheduled time commitments that the field trip organizers need to maintain. This means staff will continually evaluate activities with respect to the program and provide information to students about what time is available for each activity.

Students are responsible to acknowledge and respect this need to manage the time. When in small groups, it will be up to the students to perform the required tasks within the time available.