Nature Park Management: hand warmers not included
Firstly, it can be chilly out there. It can also be scalding hot, full of midges and gnats, snake-ridden and hornet-infested. Apart from that, it’s the beautiful outdoors, and budding Nature Park Managers can train in the skills and knowledge necessary to manage natural parks, keep the ecosystems thriving (apart from the hornets, perhaps) and make them accessible and appealing to visitors.
ACS Distance Education’s Nature Park Management is a 100-hour course providing the foundations of competence in the profession, or a grounding for volunteers and interns. On completion students should be able to explain the importance of the various elements of an ecosystem, design a nature park, develop management strategies for weed control and rehabilitation of degraded sites, manage soil quality, and develop plant maintenance strategies.
Students will need access to a natural park and perform tasks such as preparing a collection of sixty plants, presumably not ones they have plucked from a park without permission. They are also expected to collect twenty different weeds – parks are probably only to keen to let them have those. It’s distance learning but the curriculum is very hands-on: much of it involves studying living ecosystems. There are projects involving soil dynamics assessment, weed seed dispersal mechanisms and explaining site degradation.
Theoretical aspects include comparing the features of different natural park plans, estimating the cost of maintaining a section of a park, comparing the likely impact of using various fertilizers and pesticides, and explaining the potential impact of importing non-indigenous organisms into a site.
Payment can be split into two instalments and there is a 5% discount for taking the course as e-learning rather than on CD.