Acorn Ecology Online Course

Online Ecology Courses

Winter is here and the field courses are over for another year. That doesn’t mean you have to stop learning! Winter is a great time to tackle your background and baseline knowledge of ecology. Get yourself ready for next survey season with some of these titles.

Acorn Ecology Online CourseWhy do an online course?

Online courses are all the rage at the moment. You can study from the comfort of your own home, at your own speed. Sounds good! But with so many courses out there, you need to be sure you are getting a good one.

Why chose an Ecology Training UK Online Course?

Our courses are written by professional ecologists who have been working in the field of ecology and can draw on their experiences. Their experiences provide the quality course content you expect from Ecology Training UK and it all aims to help you with your field work.

About our coursesecology online courses

We have a range of online courses, which are great if you are starting a career in ecological consultancy or conservation, or if you just need to brush up on a few topics. Each course has a number of modules and a quiz to help you consolidate what you have learned. Complete the quiz and send it back for marking and your certificate. It’s as easy at that.

So, stave off the winter blues by learning to tell Japanese knotweed from Himalayan balsam; how to manage woodland; the basics of population ecology or even why stoats are “stoataly different” from weasels! Treat yourself to an Ecology Training UK Online Course today!

Our course titles are:

Habitat Management (6 modules)

Habitat Restoration (6 modules)

Introduction to Ecology (10 modules)

Invasive Species (9 modules)

Mammal ID (3 modules)

Reptile and Amphibian ID (3 modules)

Click on the links above to get more information about each course.

We’re working on some new courses. Sign up to our newsletter to hear about them as soon as they are available!

Some testimonials from our online courses:

“I absolutely loved this course and am looking forward to doing some further courses!”

“Very good introductory course to learn general ecology ready for Certificate course”

“The course content was excellent and the topics covered were very informative. Anyone wishing to gain a better understanding of ecology would benefit immensely from taking this course. I would highly recommend it!”

“A thought provoking and enjoyable course.”

“I found this course a great introduction to habitat management; the skills needed and the numerous organisations involved in conservation”

I really enjoyed this course. Good value for money. After studying Module 2 I had the confidence to volunteer for three different flora/fauna surveys which is good experience and an opportunity to contribute.”

“This course has given me a good grounding in the theory of practical habitat management. It has allowed me to build on what I already knew and has encouraged me to continue learning about the topic”

bat course, ecology training, ecology courses

Trainees at work – your first job

Testimonials from our students at Acorn Ecology TrainingAs a trainee you are likely to get the time-consuming surveys such as reptile surveys, newt surveys and bat activity surveys (after training of course). If you have a problem with reptiles – snakes in particular – you may need to get yourself desensitised by just doing it and getting experience, or having a re-think.  Could you catch an adder?

We run a reptile surveying and handling course that has cured many of snake phobia – it’s amazing how quickly something scary becomes routine after you’ve done it a few times. These surveys often require basic skills and don’t require licences but give you the feeling that you are learning a new skill, doing something useful and generating income for the practice. For the senior staff it means that they can concentrate on more complex tasks or projects.

Hopefully you will also be given the opportunity to go out with more senior consultants and will quickly pick up information and experience that will stand you in good stead for developing your career.  Obviously if you are interested, enthusiastic and willing to put in some time to do background reading you will get a lot more from this experience than if you just do the minimum and don’t ask your colleagues questions.

Don’t forget that you MUST spend as much time as possible developing your identification skills (particularly botany) – colleagues can help but in the end this information has to go into your head and only you can put it there. This is where some personal effort and dedication will pay real dividends.

You will often be taken out on surveys just for health and safety cover. For example bat work at night, working around water, or maybe to help carry equipment. This is an excellent time to chat to your colleagues and find out about how they developed their career, ask any questions about the survey method, what you are finding, what they might advise and any other burning questions you have.

If you are working for a big consultancy you may be required to travel a lot too, again a good time to talk to a colleague.  Maybe discuss the legal aspects of findings and what advice will be given. Getting to grips with the legal side of our advice is one of the most difficult things to master and takes time.

We have developed templates for our survey reports and this ensures a consistent product and also saves time. In your first job you may be asked to complete simple reports at first and gradually do more and more complicated ones.  Good drawing and IT skills are useful as most reports have some sort of sketch map or you may need diagrams of mitigation suggestions. New trainees often start by doing the map and preparing a results table to go into the report. Some ability to use a digital camera, download photos and re-size them helps as most reports also include photos.

As you gain more experience, under the guidance of your senior colleagues, and backed up with your own studies, you will soon be able to tackle more varied tasks.  Remember your senior staff should want you to gain as much experience as possible – you will then be far more useful!

The great thing about this career is that there is always something new to learn!

You might find it useful to read CIEEM’s student documents at: http://www.cieem.net/students-careers

Excerpt fromHow to Become and Ecological Consultant by Sue Searle BSc, PGDip, MCIEEM available from our shop

How to become an ecological consultant, by Susan M Searle BSc PGDip MCIEEM (paperback book)

How to Become an Ecological Consultant

How to become an ecological consultant second editionPrincipal Ecologist and Managing Director of Ecology Training UK Sue Searle has written a career guide: ‘How to become an ecological consultant’ and we will be producing some blogs with excerpts from the book.

Sue started her career as a nurse and midwife and then did her ecology training…

A typical week:

There is no typical day, or even season, in my career now. Ecological consultancy has got to be one of the most interesting, varied, intellectual and challenging jobs around. Last week, for instance, I closed a badger sett, carried out a dawn and two dusk bat surveys, did a ditch dipping session with some local children, found a dormouse in a hedge and explained to a client the implications of having a bat maternity roost in their loft if they wanted to demolish their house. I also wrote several reports and, as part of the running the business, spoke to clients, did quotes, accounts, correspondence, marketing, paid bills, VAT and wages and helped my staff with their work. Quite a week! Each day is just as interesting, challenging and varied. I would not give up this career for the world, it’s great, and it certainly doesn’t seem like work most of the time. I have been an ecological consultant since 2003 when I set up my own business, Acorn Ecology Limited.

Why ecological consultancy?

One burning question you may have at this point is how or why did I decide to become an ecologist? I will cover this later as we explore what might motivate you to become an ecologist. Simply, I was always interested in wildlife, particularly plants, mammals, reptiles and insects and I love being outdoors. My early years were spent in Africa and as a child my mother could not get me to come indoors!

When I left school in 1976 ecology was not on the radar as a career. It was not until much later, in the 1990s, that I realised I could make a career of wildlife and what I needed to do to get there. Ecological consultancy became a more precise goal towards the end of my first degree, but more on that later.

What will you gain from this book?Sue Searle book 2018

As a person who is presumably thinking of becoming an ecological consultant I hope that by reading this book you will gain some insight into what the job entails and what challenges you might expect.

This book is written to help you make a start in a career as an ecological consultant. You may have just completed a degree or may be looking for a change in career like I did. Finding a job in this sector can be hard, especially if you have no experience.

This book will tell you what you need to know to get started as a professional ecologist; what academic skills you will need; how to learn the valuable skills you’ll need to work with wildlife; how to gain the right kind of practical experience; and how to demonstrate your knowledge in the right way to impress employers. I will also cover how to present your CV and yourself, when job hunting. It covers what to expect in your first job, goal setting, career planning and, later in your career, specialising.”

The book is was published in April 2011, and thousands of copies have been sold! It is back with a second edition (2018). You can order yours from Amazon, or from our book shop.

Acorn Ecology, Field Ecology Courses

Three Career Paths in Ecology

How to become an ecological consultant, by Susan M Searle BSc PGDip MCIEEMSue Searle, our Senior Ecologist, has written a book ‘How to become an ecological consultant’ and we will be producing some blogs with excerpts from the book.

Chapter 1 – Three career paths in ecology

It is at this point that I would like to talk about the three different paths that you can take to build a career in ecology. It took me quite a while to realise that there are actually very different paths to take as an ecologist, and that the difference between them is not generally discussed much between ecologists when they’re starting out. I want to point it out now to make sure you decide which way you want to go before you go too far in one direction and find you have to back-pedal.  All three are very enjoyable, but they differ in the type of challenge they offer, the level of intellectual involvement, maintenance of professional standards and, last but not least, they can differ vastly in salary potential.

Career path No. 1 – conservation

Booking a Course at Acorn Ecology Training is Easy!Conservation jobs are usually for charities and trusts, local authorities, government organisations, wildlife trusts, small conservation organisations, museums, zoos and campaigning groups. Jobs in this area can be found both here in the UK and abroad.

Reserves management is a common conservation career and often involves managing teams or work parties and as well as preparing management plans, monitoring wildlife and habitat change, talking to the public and holding events. Other conservation jobs such as lobbying, public awareness, managing teams of volunteers, working with schools or visitors to centres, may be more focussed on your people skills, your ability to speak publically, your negotiation skills, maybe even your command of foreign languages.  Each post will have its own unique role and set of skills that you will need to fulfil.  Pretty interesting work but unfortunately not usually well paid.

Career path No. 2 – academia

Academic Study of EcologyAcademia is a well-established path you can take after your degree – there is a whole career structure waiting for you and you can pursue jobs literally anywhere in the world.  Academics are the ones that do the research that helps everyone in ecology work effectively and make sure that the advice we give has a scientific foundation. They discover, through their research, what works and what doesn’t in terms of habitat and species management, population structure and much more.  They also study species ecology and a myriad other things including all the genetics studies that have shed so much light on how species interact and their evolutionary history.

Career path No. 3 – ecological consultancy

Ecologists on Development Sites

Ecological consultants are paid by their clients, usually developers, to deliver advice on wildlife and conservation issues which they might have an impact on, usually while they are applying for planning permission or during a development. Projects that ecological consultants would be involved in range from minor barn alterations to new motorways – both would have to take account of their likely impact on wildlife and steps to mitigate impacts.

Ecological consultants are also heavily involved in major strategic projects such as the London Olympics, Severn barrage, wind farms, high speed rail links and the channel tunnel railway. The ecological surveys and mitigation projects can sometimes take many years to complete or resolve. Ecologists are also often involved in habitat creation and re-creation, ongoing site management and monitoring, mitigating for habitat loss and assessing environmental impacts of a project on the ecology of a site.”

If you are thinking of pursuing a career in ecological consultancy then why not order your own copy of the book? Only £10!  If you are ordering outside the UK then please order from Amazon.com.

You can order a copy from our shop