Promoting Field Studies

The Essential Importance of Field Education

With generous support from the National Science Foundation, we led a national effort to address a crisis in biology education—the decline of programs that take students into the field for deep engagement with nature. In March 2016 we convened a four-day working group meeting to look at the value behind field experiences for students, the trends and roadblocks that may hinder institutions and instructors from bringing classes into the field, and potential solutions to these problems. 

This collaborative project yielded the following six tangible outcomes:

Project Outcomes


Stories from the Field

Wilderness Risk Manager’s Conference

I wanted to share a link to the Resource Center at the Wilderness Risk Manger’s Conference website. It is being converted from being organized by conference year to topic. The topics are: Emergency Planning and Crisis Response, Field Practices, Legal Considerations,...

Alternative Perspectives for Managing Sources of Risk

In a recent article, Clare Dallat provides an alternative and insightful perspective to identifying and managing sources of risk in a way that aligns with what the wider field of safety science now understands about how and why accidents happen. Using lessons from...

Saying Yes to field studies

One barrier institutions and instructors face when taking students into the field is an increasing concern about liability. As a means to address this concern, we have collaborated with Steve Pace, a risk management professional, to create Saying Yes to Environmental...

“Into the Field” published in Orion Magazine

Orion Magazine recently published an essay by Amanda Giracca that explores the benefits of taking students into the field. Giracca is a Prescott College alumna and attended our NSF-funded workshop, "The Decline in Field Studies:  Proactive Strategies for Essential...

Orion Magazine at Field Studies Workshop

A free-lance journalist, Amanda Giracca, has been commissioned by Orion Magazine to write an article on the issue of the decline of field studies. Amanda is a Prescott College alumna, who had a dual major in environmental studies and creative writing. She now is an...

Abstract for Decline in Field Studies

Workshop: The Decline in Field Studies: Proactive Strategies for Essential Training for the Next Generation of Biological Researchers Thomas L. Fleischner, Ph.D. Director, Natural History Institute, and Professor, Prescott College, Prescott, Arizona At the very time...

Participant List for Decline in Field Studies Workshop Announced

The participants in the NSF-funded workshop "The Decline in Field Studies: Proactive Strategies for Essential Training for the Next Generation of Biological Researchers," represent a wide variety of institutions, areas of taxanomic expertise, and roles that serve...

Prescott College’s Natural History Institute Awarded $40K Grant

Recently the National Science Foundation awarded Prescott College a $40,000 grant to look into the rapid national decline in opportunities for students to have field experiences while training for work as biological researchers. The College's Natural History Institute...

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Share Your Story

If you are a professor, administrator, student or professional that has done work in the field, we would like to hear from you! We are looking for stories and photos from the field, as well as editorials about working in the field—including setbacks, triumphs, ideas, and resources that you think may help others. Content will be reviewed, and minor edits may be made before posting to this site.

  • Please keep your content to 500 words or less.
  • Please submit images in .jpg or .png format.

Decline In Field Studies Workshop

The Decline in Field Studies:  Proactive Strategies for Essential Training for the Next Generation of Biological Researchers, was held March 3-6, 2016, at the Natural History Institute at Prescott College, thanks to generous funding from a National Science Foundation grant. The links below lead to the workshop’s wiki and contain details related to the project including: the abstract, a list of participants and their bios, the agenda for the weekend, and a list of links to recommended reading. Make note, several pages are only accessible to project participants.

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