Nature Park Management I

Learn management skills for national parks, nature reserves, botanical reserves, wilderness areas, wildlife reserves; understand the basic ecological principles of nature park management. Expert tutors guide you through this course.

Course CodeBEN120
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Learn about and Work in Parks

Take a step toward a career working in the management of Parks, Reserves, Zoos, National Parks, Wilderness areas and the like. A nature park can be any area that aims to preserve a natural environment or natural plant and animal life. It may include:
  • gazetted wilderness areas such as a national park
  • wildlife reserves
  • forest reserves
  • zoos and wildlife parks
  • botanical reserves
  • certain public parks and reserves

"A great course, prepare to be challenged! This is a growth area and more specialists will be required in the future. This is sound course that will encourage you to start gaining the skills and knowledge required to work in this field.” - Adriana Fraser Cert.Hort., Cert.Child Care, Adv.Cert.App.Mgt., Cert IV Assessment and Training, Adv.Dip.Hort, ACS Tutor.

Lesson Structure

There are 12 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Nature Park Management
    • the role and scope of nature parks; the importance of indigenous vegetation in nature parks.
  2. Basic Ecology
    • the environment, plants and animals; ecosystem concepts.
  3. Soil Management in Nature Parks
    • soil characteristics and problems; earthworks.
  4. Plant Maintenance
    • basic gardening techniques; natural gardening; plant selection; succession planting; equipment.
  5. Design of Nature/Wilderness Parks I
    • collecting site information; preparing concept plans.
  6. Design of Nature/Wilderness Parks II
    • drawing the final plan; construction estimates; designing animal enclosures.
  7. Weed Management
    • characteristics of weeds; weed control; environmental weeds.
  8. Pest and Disease Management
    • management strategies; chemical safety.
  9. Culture of Indigenous Plants
    • techniques for establishing vegetation; planting design.
  10. Tree Management
    • role of trees in nature parks; tree maintenance plans; pruning and tree surgery.
  11. Turf Care
    • turf varieties in nature parks; lawn preparation, establishment and maintenance.
  12. Rehabilitation: Problems and Solutions
    • aims and strategies; soil problems and solutions in degraded sites.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Explain the importance of the interrelationships between various components of a natural environment within an ecosystem.
  • Develop management strategies for soils within a natural ecosystem.
  • Develop management strategies for plant maintenance practices, in nature parks.
  • Design a nature park, or a section within a nature park.
  • Develop management strategies for the control of weed problems in a nature park.
  • Develop management strategies for the rehabilitation of degraded sites in a nature park.

What You Will Do

  • Differentiate between different categories or types of nature parks.
  • Determine thirty living components of a specific ecosystem, studied by you.
  • Determine ten non-living components of a specific ecosystem, studied by you.
  • Prepare a labelled diagram to illustrate the interrelationships between at least fifteen different components of an ecosystem.
  • Explain the possible impact of removing two different specified organisms from a specified ecosystem.
  • Explain the potential impact of adding non indigenous organisms, to a specified ecosystem.
  • Explain how different soil characteristics can impact upon an ecosystem.
  • Describe the physical characteristics of at least three different soils, which are of significant to the stability of their ecosystems.
  • Assess aspects of soil dynamics on a site, including: Topography -Soil life -Susceptibility to degradation -Sunlight (canopy penetration).
  • Compare the likely implications of using three different types of fertilisers, including:
    • Benefit to plants -Method of use -Environmental impact.
  • Explain the use of different soil conditioners including: pH modifiers -Ameliorants -Organic matter.
  • Determine the plant maintenance requirements of a specific nature park visited and assessed by you.
  • Develop guidelines for the care of new plantations in a nature park visited by you.
  • Compare the suitability of three different types of grass cutting equipment, for mowing a specific park.
  • Compare the likely environmental impact of different types of pesticides used on a specific site.
  • Determine the significance to plant populations, of containment of different outpus, on a specified site, including: -water runoff -chemical spray drift -effluent -pollutants.
  • Prepare a plant collection of sixty plants.
  • Determine categories of landscape developments which are carried out in different types of nature parks, including: Wildlife Reserves -Zoos -Sanctuaries -National Parks -Forest
    • Reserves -Vegetation corridors.
  • Evaluate the designs of two different sections, of different nature parks, against given criteria.
  • Collect pre-planning information for the development of a site, within a nature park.
  • Prepare two concept plans for a nature park development, including:
    • -existing features -clear labelling -legend -scale -north indicator.
  • Compare features of two nature park concept plans.
  • Plan the construction of a landscape development within a nature park, including: -materials lists (types and quantities of materials); -plan of proposed landscape development; list of manpower and equipment requirements; -a work schedule.
  • Estimate the cost of construction in accordance with a specified landscape plan.
  • Estimate the cost of maintaining a specified section of a park, for a three month period.
  • Explain the impact of weeds on two natural environments in the learners locality, using examples.
  • Prepare a weed collection, of twenty different weeds.
  • Describe two different weed problems, in two different nature parks.
  • Explain five different weed seed dispersal mechanisms, for weed species collected.
  • Compare alternative control methods for a specified weed problem.
  • Select appropriate control methods for ten different specified weed problems.
  • Develop guidelines for weed control, in a nature park inspected by you.
  • Develop a management plan to reinstate indigenous flora on a specific site.
  • Explain the causes of three specified types of site degradation.
  • Describe five different techniques for controlling site degradation.
  • Describe five different techniques for repairing site degradation.
  • Describe degraded sites at two different natural areas, you inspect.
  • Prepare construction details for work to be undertaken in the rehabilitation of a degraded site you inspect.
  • Develop a management plan for a degraded site, in a natural area you visit.

Read the following to find out more about what you will learn from this course. If you would like to contact one of our tutors then click on the 'Talk To An Expert' box at the end of this page. They can help steer you on the right track and help you choose the best course for you!

Working in Nature Parks:

Nature parks are created by both government and private individuals. Often they are existing natural areas that need to be reserved and protected from potential degradation. Sometimes they are places that are being redeveloped into natural environments for a variety of purposes that may include conservation, education and/or tourism. 

 It is rarely a simple task to manage these areas in a world where the impact of man can be far reaching. The work may involve controlling the impact of people; but can also involve repairing degradation of sites.  There is also often a delicate balance to be maintained between use of a site and damage to a site. If nature parks are not visited, their is less awareness and impetus to fund their protection; but if they are visited too much, the impact of visitors can cause degradation.

National Parks

National parks are relatively large areas of land set aside by government designation. In most cases, the land is relatively undeveloped and has significant natural landscape value.

The main role of national parks is to preserve the natural features of the landscape, including topography, flora and fauna. National parks are also important for their roles in education and recreation.

National parks are usually managed by state, shire or territory government bodies. Rangers are employed to look after the park. Their role is to protect the flora and fauna in the park and to ensure visitors safely enjoy the features of the park without significantly impacting on the environment.

Public access is usually limited to areas that are specifically designed and managed to cope with visitors. Within these area there may be boardwalks, scenic lookout platforms, and natural features of interest (e.g. waterfalls, valleys, or a unique geological or historical feature). Access within the park may be via walking trails, roads, car parks, picnic areas and campgrounds.

 Zoos and Wildlife Parks
Zoos and wildlife parks and enclosed areas where animal species are cared for and housed for the purpose of conservation, education and research. These may be privately owned, managed by a private conservation trust, or managed by the government. In about 1500 BC Queen Hatsheput of Egypt decided to build a zoo, and about 500 years later the Chinese emperor Wen Wang founded the Garden of Intelligence. Many small zoos were set up between 1,000 and 400 BC by leader from Africa, India, and China to display power and wealth. The ancient Greeks established public zoos to study animal and plant life. Near the end of the 1,400's, global exploration brought Europeans to the New World and explorers brought back with them exotic species to be housed in zoos.

The above shows how many different reasons there are for establishing a zoo. Today conservation, research and education are the primary reasons for developing and maintaining wildlife parks (wildlife parks focus on these goals whereas some zoos still have animals on display purely for interest, education, and profit). Being able to house different species on one given park provides the ability to study these creatures up close and give visitors the opportunity to experience some interaction with species in order to appreciate their fragility and importance in the grander scale of things. These establishments often have animal hospitals, trained vets, animal carers, and researchers who are dedicated to preserving species and housing them in best possible environments whilst educating the public on their importance. A lot of the parks provide volunteering opportunities, educational programs for school and other visitors, and research opportunities.

These are usually smaller areas of land, either owned and managed privately or managed by council, shire or state departments. Reserves are set aside for many different reasons:

  • They may have significant natural features, such as remnant vegetation or wetlands.
  • They may be important for cultural or historic reasons; for example, the site may contain relics of previous inhabitants.
  • They may offer opportunities for passive and active recreation, such as bush walking, nature studies, bird watching, camping, boating, orienteering.
  • Its purpose may be to rehabilitate a degraded site, such as a disused quarry or landfill.
  • They offer people special opportunities to study or learn about nature or simply to enjoy it.
Most reserves are open to the public, but not always. Some are managed by private trusts or landholders, and access is restricted for privacy reasons. Some are managed by local councils or botanical gardens. Environmentally-sensitive areas may also be restricted to protect threatened species or fragile land forms.


  • Learn to identify and grow a wide range of different plants
  • Study the science that underpins all knowledge of horticulture
  • Enrol anytime, study from anywhere, learn at your own pace
  • Interact one on one with highly qualified and experienced tutors
  • Access tutors whenever you need them -Our faculty of 10 horticulturists are accessible 5 days a week, 50 weeks of the year by phone or email


Nature parks and reserves make up a significant amount of land in and around most major cities. They are important areas that preserve the natural flora and fauna of local areas and are intended to save them from development. However, nature parks are designated areas for members of the public to visit and make the most of nature. They therefore need to be managed to preserve them for future generations to enjoy. This course helps students to develop an appreciation of strategies and designs that can be implemented to maintain and enhance nature parks.
This course will be of interest to people working, or aspiring to work in:

  • National parks and nature reserves
  • Botanical parks and gardens  
  • Land management
  • Ecotourism

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Dr Robert Browne

Zoologist, Environmental Scientist and Sustainability, science based consultancy with biotechnology corporations. Work focused on conservation and sustainability. Robert has published work in the fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and develop
Rosemary Davies

Leading horticultural expert in Australia. Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (c
Bob James

Horticulturalist, Agriculturalist, Environmental consultant, Businessman and Professional Writer. Over 40 years in industry, Bob has held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise. Bob has a Dip. Animal Husb, B.App.Sc.,
John Mason

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.
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