Summer 16 Watershed Management Field Course

This summer I took a field course called Biodiversity and Watershed Management headed by Dr. Dawn Bazely and Dr. Scott Tarof. During the short two weeks the course took place I learned a tremendous amount on a variety of different topics some of which we be covered briefly in this post.


Prescribe Burning

One of the first things I learned during the field course was about the conservational tool, Prescribe Burning. Prescribe burning is a process of planning and applying fire to a predetermined area, under specific environmental conditions, to achieve a desired outcome. The area that fire is applied is some sort of forest, farmland or prairie with unwanted vegetation. The tool used to apply the fire during a prescribed burning is the driptorch. The driptroch allows for a steady stream of flaming fluid to be directed to ground as needed. The driptorch can also be modified which allows it to be used in different manners, for example attaching it to a helicopter (called helitorch) which allows for prescribe burning of extremely large area. Prescribe burning can be used to achieve a number of different outcome such as: maintaining biodiversity; mitigating the severity of bush fires and to help protect lives and property by reducing the build-up of flammable fuel loads; rehabilitating vegetation after disturbance, such as timber harvesting and mining, undertaking research on fire and its interaction with our environment.

Here is a series of video demonstrating the prescribe burning process:



Malaise Trap

Aside from prescribe burning I also learned how to used and set up a Malaise Trap. The Malaise Trap was invented by Rene Malaise in 1934. It is  is a large, tent-like structure used for trapping flying insects, particularly Hymenoptera and Diptera. The basic structure consists of a tent with a large opening at the bottom for insects to fly into and a tall central wall that directs the flying insects upwards to a cylinder containing a killing agent. The killing agent commonly uses is ethanol.

Video demonstration of how to set up Malaise Traps:

Video detailing how the Malaise Trap works:


This field course was extremely enjoyable. I highly recommend taking it, especially if you are looking for a course to take during the summer. Its quick, its not every expensive, you learn a tremendous amount (what is shown in this post is only a small portion of what was covered), you will probably come out with a new set of friends, and lastly Dr.Bazely and Dr. Tarof are two of the best teacher you could ever have as a undergrad.

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