Rosalie Chapple brings Study Abroad to the Mountains

Each year in June and July the Institute’s Education Program Leader, Rosalie Chapple, brings international university students to the Blue Mountains as part of a 3-week immersion in Australia’s protected areas.

During the multi-week travelling course, students visit protected areas in a range of climatic regions to observe Australia’s unique flora and fauna, and to understand the challenges of conserving and managing natural and cultural heritage in the 21st century.

Students from China, Canada and the USA travelled abroad to learn about Australia’s protected areas.

Students from China, Canada and the USA travelled abroad to learn about Australia’s protected areas.

The Wildlife and Conservation Education Abroad course is co-taught by Brad Nesbitt, formerly of NSW National Parks and offers international students an unparalleled opportunity to receive an immersive introduction to Australia’s environment and wildlife through the eyes of local experts, contextualised within the global ecological crisis.

The nature-based program also allows the students to experience and engage in field research in some of Australia’s most unique and significant environments including the Blue Mountains, Gondwana, the Great Barrier Reef and the ancient Daintree Rainforest.

Wyn Jones, a local scientist and environmental conservationist, guided students on a nature walk through the Blue Mountains in this year’s course.

Other Australian climatic regions visited during this year’s course included:

  • Sub Tropics: Byron Bay - Arakwal National Park, Nightcap National Park (Gondwana World Heritage Area).

  • Wet Tropics: Far North Queensland - Daintree National Park (Wet Tropics World Heritage Area) and the Great Barrier Reef (World Heritage Area).

Alongside experiential learning in nature, the course includes an academic program that provides contextual understanding such as the scientific, historical and socio-cultural drivers of conservation problems and their management.

Students leave with a deeper connection to nature, coupled with an understanding of environmental issues and their management in Australia.

Special thanks to our philanthropic partners at Scenic World for giving free day passes to all students.

Student testimonials from the 2019 course:

“My excursions over the past couple of weeks have been the most exciting, most informative and most adventurous activities I have ever done.”

“This program has allowed me to confirm that I would like to pursue my studies in the conservation of biodiversity to ensure all species are able to have a life worth living in a safe environment. Overall, coming to Australia to take this course has been one of the best experiences of my life which allowed me to learn more about wildlife, conservation, and ways in which I can do my part in helping our planet.”

Before taking this class, I ignorantly assumed that conservation decisions were made without much deliberation, that the right choice was clear, and that decisions were always made with the best interest of the species or land in mind. … now I feel informed about what can be done to save these species. This makes me feel so much more motivated to make a change in my home country.”

“One of the main takeaways I have gained from this trip is that the biggest struggle in regards to conservation is changing the behaviour of people. I feel far more equipped now to go out and spread awareness back home, and am very excited to (in my future studies) help uncover strategies that will get more people deciding to make more environmentally friendly and sustainable choices more often!”

Learn more about our Education and Training Programs.