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Biosphere Expeditions experience days in the UK, Australia & USA

Summary

Experience days are just what they say they are: days that will give you a unique insight into what it’s like to be in the field with Biosphere Expeditions assisting scientists with wildlife research and conservation. They are set amongst the beautiful scenery of a national park or protected area, where you will be part of a small team, alongside a park ranger or nature guide, and your expedition leader. You will discover expedition and wildlife research and conservation skills such as working with a map, GPS and compass, collecting important animal data, reading animal tracks and signs, using telemetry equipment and wildlife camera traps. You will also learn about the area you are in, its fauna and flora, history and the conservation work going on inside.

Experience day contribution: AUS$95 | £65 | US$95 per person. We will credit AU$75 | £50 | US$75 back to you if you subsequently join one of our expeditions.

Dates & locations Australia: Melbourne - 18 October 2015 | Sydney - 25 October 2015*

Dates & locations UK: New Forest National Park - 21 June 2015 | Broads National Park - 28 June 2015*

Dates & locations USA: Minnewaska National Park, NY - 17 May 2015 | Lory State Park, CO - 24 May 2014 | King's Canyon National Park, CA - 31 May 2015*

* Experience days are always on a Sunday from 09.00 to 17.00.

Details

Team size

Up to 15 team members + 1 nature guide / park ranger + 1 expedition leader.

Skills & prerequisites required

None. You don't need to be a scientist or have any special qualifications - everyone can take part and there are no age limits whatsoever.

Fitness level required

None. If you are healthy and enjoy the outdoors, you’ll be fine. Those with special needs should get in touch to discuss their requirements.

Meeting point

Always an easy to find location right next to or inside the national park or protected area in which the day takes place in (see "National Park locations" below for details).

Miscellaneous

The experience day does not include catering, so please make sure you bring your own drinks and a lunch pack.

Itinerary

Each experience day follows the same basic plan of creating a mini expedition. Just like on expedition there is a meeting point that you have to get to under your own steam (and where you will meet at 09.00 on Sunday morning) to start your experience day. And just like on expedition we’ll start with introductions, a short safety talk and a brief overview of what’s to come.

The rough plan for the day is as follows

08.30   Expedition leader at the meeting point
08.45   Participants at the meeting point
09.00   Start of the experience day (please be punctual!)
09.00-09.30   Overview, introduction of participants and staff
Morning   Safety talk, Introduction to research techniques and equipment such as GPS, compass, map, hand-held radios, camera traps, radio telemetry equipment, data sheets and data collection techniques, recognising animal tracks and signs, etc. Trying out the equipment.
Noon   Lunch (bring your own lunch pack), pack up equipment, introduction to protected area
Afternoon   Field walk or boat/canoe expedition, where possible telemetry work
16.00-17.00   Expeditions presentation, questions, farewells

Once in the field with your expedition leader and park ranger, you will practice the skills learned in the morning. You’ll be locating radio telemetry transmitters, setting up camera traps, doing a bit of navigating and learning how to recognise animal signs & tracks and record them just like a conservation scientist or a participant in an expedition would.

Your expedition leader will be your link to our expeditions, so if you find a fox track, for example, your expedition leader may use this as an opportunity to talk to you about wolf tracks on expedition and how to record and measure them. Your park ranger will create local relevancy and tell you about the local flora & fauna, the protected area and its conservation work, history and other interesting historical and social facts.

By the end of the day you should know a lot more about the local fauna & flora and have a good idea of what it’s like to be on expedition with Biosphere Expeditions.

And finally

Even more details, including instructions on how to get to the assembly point, are in the experience day briefing below.

Briefing

For even more details such as activities, the assembly point and how to get there, and lots more, please access the experience day briefing by providing your full name and e-mail.

Biosphere Expeditions will never share these details with anyone. 

Locations

Australia
Parks Victoria Parks NSW

Meet at 08.45 at the South rotunda in Yarra Bend Park, Fairfield (Melway 2D). You can either park directly on Yarra Bend Road or at Studley Park Boathouse and walk across Kanes Bridge (a footbridge).

This taster day includes a combination of field walks and kayaking around Yarra Bend Park.

Meet at 08.45 at Q Station car park, 1 North Head Scenic Drive, Manly 2095.

This taster day includes a combination of field walks and kayaking around the Middle Harbour, Grotto Point and Sydney Harbour National Park areas.
UK
New Forest NP Broads Authority

Meet at 08.45 at Minstead Hall, Minstead, near Lyndhurst SO43 7FX.

The New Forest is an area of southern England, which includes the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and old-growth forest. The New Forest habitat covers south west Hampshire and some of south Wiltshire.

Like much of England, the New Forest was originally forested, but parts were cleared for cultivation from the Stone Age and into the Bronze Age. The New Forest was created as a royal forest in 1079 by William the Conqueror for the hunting of (mainly) deer. It was first recorded as "Nova Foresta" in the Domesday Book in 1086.

Meet at 08.45 at the car park of Hickling Broad National Nature Reserve of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

The Broads are a network of mostly navigable rivers and lakes (known locally as broads) in the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. The Broads are Britain's largest protected wetland and third largest inland waterway, with the status of a national park. The area is also home to some of the rarest plants and animals in the UK. The Broads Authority was set up in 1989, with responsibility for conservation, planning, recreation and waterways.

For many years broads were regarded as natural features of the landscape. It was only in the 1960s that Dr Joyce Lambert showed that they were artificial features, the effect of flooding on early peat excavations. The Romans first exploited the rich peat beds of the area for fuel, and in the Middle Ages the local monasteries began to excavate the "turbaries" (peat diggings) as a business, selling fuel to Norwich and Great Yarmouth. Then the sea levels began to rise, and the pits began to flood. Despite the construction of wind pumps and dykes, the flooding continued and resulted in the typical broads landscape of today, with its reed beds, grazing marshes and wet woodlands.

USA

New York State Parks

Colarado State Parks
Meet at 08.45 a.m. at the main car park at Minnewaska Lake (Minnewaska State Park, 5080 Route 44-55, Gardinier, NY 12446).

Minnewaska State Park is in Ulster County and the famous Catskills region, only 75 miles from New York City’s Newark airport, and just a few miles off Interstate 87. Situated on the dramatic Shawangunk Mountain ridge that rises more than 2,000 feet above sea level, the terrain of Minnewaska State Park Preserve is rugged and rocky, blanketed by dense hardwood forest encircling two lakes. The Nature Conservancy has designated the entire Shawangunk Mountain ridge as one of the "Last Great Places." The Shawangunks, including Minnewaska, are among the highest priority areas for biodiversity conservation in the northeastern United States. Wildlife in the park includes the bobcat and New York State's only documented occurrence of the noctuid moth Zale curema. Minnewaska is also part of a bird migratory corridor that exists along the entire upland plateau of the Northern Shawangunks. Bird species include peregrine falcons, northern saw-whet owl, black-and-white warbler, black-throated blue warbler, Canada warbler, eastern wood-pewee, northern flicker and scarlet tanager, indigo bunting and prairie warbler.
Meet at 08.45 a.m. at the car park/trailhead at the end of the vehicle track (this is the trailhead for Arthur’s Rock trail) at Lory State Park, 708 Lodgepole Dr, Bellvue, CO 80512.

Lory State Park is in Colorado’s famous Rocky Mountain region, only 55 miles from Denver’s international airport, and just a few miles from Ft Collins. It  encompasses 2,492 acres along the beautiful Rocky Mountain foothills in north-central Colorado. The park uplands are dominated by iconic montane coniferous forest, foothills shrub and grassland communities. Nearly barren rock outcrops and cliffs support lichen and moss communities. Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, Rocky Mountain juniper and aspen are the dominant forest trees. Mule deer, coyote, raccoon, striped skunk, Abert's squirrel, cottontail rabbit, porcupine, ground squirrel and red fox are common sights. Occasional observations of black bear, mountain lion, bobcat, elk, and white-tailed deer also occur. Over 175 species of migratory and resident birds are known for this area, including the grassland species lark bunting, horned lark and western meadowlark, raptors, waterfowl and shorebirds attracted to the open water of adjacent Horsetooth reservoir, and park wetland and riparian habitats. Conspicuous birds include the canyon wren, yellow-breasted chat, western tanager and broad-tailed hummingbird.

National Park Service

Meet at 08.45 a.m. at the Cedar Grove visitor center at Cedar Grove, CA 95709 (phone 559-565-3793, in Cedar Grove village next to Sentinel Campground, on the floor of the Kings Canyon, elevation 4,600 feet = 1,410 m). 

The park's Giant Sequoia forests are part of 202,430 acres (81,920 ha) of old-growth forests shared by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. One portion of the South Fork canyon, known as the Kings Canyon, gives the entire park its name. Kings Canyon, with a maximum depth of 8,200 feet (2,500 m), is one of the deepest canyons in the United States. Beyond is classic high Sierra country: barren alpine ridges and glacially scoured lake-filled basins.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks support a wide diversity of animal species, reflecting the range in elevation, climate, and habitat variety. Over 260 native vertebrate species have been counted, including the black bear, mountain lion, bobcat, marmot, pika, Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, gray fox, striped and spotted skunks. Bird species include the California quail, scrub jay, lesser goldfinch, wrentit and acorn woodpecker. In the low to mid-montane elevations grow mixed forests of ponderosa pine, incense-cedar, white fir, sugar pine, and scattered groves of giant sequoia. Further upslope, Jeffrey pine are scattered on dry granitic slopes, and pure stands of magnificent red fir and lodgepole pine forest make up the upper montane zone. Aspen rim the moist meadows and grow on the cool slopes. Meadows are lush with many kinds of flowers in the summer.

Awards & accolades

Independent on Sunday Our experience days were honoured in The Independent on Sunday’s "Best Holiday for Green-Minded Travellers" list.
Merian Our experience days were honoured in a book entitled "Once in a lifetime" (Einmal im Leben) by well-known German travel publisher Merian as one of "100 unforgettable travel adventures" (100 unvergessliche Reiseabenteuer).

Press

Zest   The minibreak with meaning
(
UK magazine)
pdf View article 2.48 Mb
    EDP   Looking for adventure? It needn't be far.
(UK magazine)
pdf View article 17.80 Mb
               
The Guardian   This year I promise...
10 fun ways to keep your resolve on track

(UK newspaper)
 pdf View article 106.95 Kb
    Senior Traveller   Experience expedition life
(Australian magazine)
pdf View article 168.60 Kb
               
Mother Nature Network   A new way to test drive a volunteer vacation
(US online magazine)
pdf View article 179.54 Kb
    Jettesttersblog   Biosphere Expeditions Volunteer Vacation in
US State and National Parks

(US blog)
pdf View blog 49.17 Kb

Sign up to an experience day now - Australia

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Paying your contribution
AU$95 per person. International exchange rates via www.xe.com.

I am paying AU$                   contribution for                 experience day place(s)
(change this as applicable) by the payment method below.

Please note that we can only accept Australian cheques made out in Australian Dollar. Cheques should be made payable to "Biosphere Expeditions".

Send your cheque to Biosphere Expeditions Australia, 409 City Road, PO Box 111, South Melbourne, VIC 3205 or one of our offices worldwide. Once your cheque has been received and cleared, your place on the experience day will be confirmed.

Transfer funds into the Biosphere Expeditions bank account
MECU Ltd, Credit Union Services Corp Australia
222 High Street, Kew VIC 3101, Australia
Account number 23177581
BSB number 803140
Routing code (for international transfers) CUSCAU2SXXX
SWIFT/BIC AU//803140

Please make sure your bank sends funds in Australian Dollar and debits all transaction charges to your account.

Your place on the experience day will be confirmed once your payment has arrived in our bank account.

Sign up to an experience day now - UK

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