As part of my role at the OU I have to deliver a field day. I chose a site in the Lake District as I thought it would be a nice place for students to spend time and there are a diverse range of Environmental Science topics I can cover in one day.
However, my line manager had concerns about the accessibility of the trip – not just in terms of mobility restrictions but also in terms of the remoteness (keeping in mind students who have limited experience in the countryside). She challenged me to create the same fieldtrip but somewhere more accessible. I found a site at a Wildlife Trust reserve just outside a city (with easy transport routes). It has a wheelchair friendly path which borders onto meadows, woodlands and some quarry lakes. It has toilets (including disabled) and a café. Here I can actually cover the full range of topics I did at the Lake District site (grassland ecosystems, woodland ecosystems, freshwater ecosystems and a bit of geology) in addition to undertake the same field activities (observations/field sketches; freshwater macroinvertebrates; quadrats; ecosystem service assessments) but without the numerous barriers I was putting in places. Unfortunately, I have yet to run the trip (it was due to run April 2020) but this has challenged me to address my unconscious thought that fieldtrips needs to be in wild and hilly places.