Nature Park Management II

Expand your expertise in managing nature parks! Improve your plant skills. Learn how to create and maintain natural ecosystems, and lots more!

Course Code: BEN207
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Expand your expertise in managing nature parks!

This course is a natural progression from Nature Park Management I, but can be taken in its own right. It concentrates more on plants and using them to create natural, balanced ecosystems. Learn to create nature trails, build rockeries and pathways, construct ponds and watercourses, design picnic grounds and animal enclosures, market a nature park.

Understand how humans impact on natural environments, and how park management seeks to provide quality recreational and educational experiences without compromising the parks’ natural environment.

What Does a Nature Park Manager Do?

  • Preservation of natural habitats
  • Land rehabilitation
  • Wildlife management
  • Control of feral pests
  • Management of natural hazards
  • Visitor management

 “This course will help you to round off your skills! Couple this course with the previous one to provide you with broader plant skills. It also enables you to understand all the components that make up a nature park.” - 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 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Natural Environments
    • preserving natural environments; plant associations and environment rehabilitation
  2. Recreation and the Environment
    • impact of recreation on natural environments
  3. Wildlife Management in Nature Parks
    • impact of park visitors on wildlife; managing wildlife
  4. Visitor Amenities in Nature Parks
    • design; provision of visitor amenities including picnic areas and campgrounds; management of facilities
  5. Park Interpretation
    • interpretative facilities including signs and education programs
  6. Trail Design and Construction
    • designing access routes in parks; designing and constructing walking tracks
  7. Water Areas
    • conserving and managing natural water bodies in nature park; impact of humans on water areas
  8. Marketing Nature Parks
    • strategies used to promote nature parks
  9. Risk Management I
    • identifying, minimising and managing natural hazards; safety issues
  10. Risk Management II
    • preparing a risk management plan.

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.

Aims

  • Explain the role of nature parks in preserving natural environments.
  • Explain the role of nature parks as a recreation resource.
  • Explain the issues of managing wildlife in nature parks.
  • Explain the design of visitor amenities in nature parks and their impact on the environment.
  • Explain the role interpretative facilities in nature parks.
  • Explain the design and construction of trails within nature parks.
  • Explain the importance and management of natural water areas in nature parks
  • Explain the importance of effective marketing in promoting nature parks.
  • Explain safety issues and hazard management in nature parks.
  • Explain the use of risk management plans in nature parks.

How to Rehabilitate a Degraded Site

To rehabilitate any degraded site means choosing a range of species which includes trees, shrubs, sub-shrubs, grasses, climbing plants and ground covers; natural environments rarely consist of trees alone. Rehabilitation is a complex and difficult problem; no site for example that has been cleared of all plant species can ever be re-rehabilitated, by the intervention of humans, to its original natural condition – irrelevant of our best intentions.  Because of this, any degraded site will only have a certain amount of ‘potential’ for its return to a natural ecosystem – the aim is to achieve this as closely as possible. 

Sites that are fenced off and allowed to rehabilitate naturally, will eventually be much closer to what nature intended, then any re-planting effort we can make. However sometimes an area, particularly those that have little or no vegetation through deforestation or similar activities, needs to be stabilised quickly in order to prevent further degradation of soil through loss to wind or water erosion.

It may also be necessary to grow nurse-plants or pioneer-plants which will stabilise the soil, provide temporary protection from wind, frost and heat for the permanent species. The pioneer plants are often legumes (nitrogen fixing plants) which will die off over time once the permanent species are established. See below for more information on pioneer plants.

When choosing permanent species for a site those native to the area are the best option in most cases. The reason for choosing local native species, wherever possible, is because:
  • They have adapted to suit the local environment, i.e. soil and climate and therefore have the best possible chance of survival.
  • They will encourage the return of native fauna. 
  • It is a waste of time and possibly harmful, to introduce species into a habitat in which they may not thrive and become targets for insect attack and disease, or in which they may become a potential weed.

How you introduce species into an area will depend on:

  • The condition of the site – soils, shelter, water, drainage, salinity etc.
  • The funds available, i.e. direct seeding can be cheaper then seedlings or cuttings
  • The local government guidelines you may need to follow
  • The size of the site and the available labour
  • Whether the site is best fenced off for natural regeneration or whether it requires more urgent human intervention

The principles applied to the rehabilitation of any site should be applied equally, i.e. a site can be large – the area of a large forest degraded through logging or mining operations or small - through clearing for home sites. 

Use the following principles as a guide:

  • Protect and preserve the natural resources – trees, water and animals
  • Restore the ecological unity of the area
  • Restore the natural structure and natural use of the area using native species where possible
  • Determine and address the possibility of ongoing degradation and its causes
  • Implement designs that consider possible future change
  • Monitor change and adapt as required
  • Wherever possible use passive restoration – natural re-vegetation rather then active re-planting
  • Use designs that promote self-sustainability
  • Set feasible and achievable goals

Pioneer Plants
Pioneer plants are those species which are the first to colonise a bare and degraded site. If left undisturbed most areas will naturally colonise with pioneer, often nitrogen enriching, plants.  Sometimes pioneer plants can be weeds, as is often seen on over-grazed or cultivated soil or shrub and tree species that prolifically self-seed. They may be introduced or native to an area. To effectively use pioneer plants to stabilize and improve a site you should know which species indigenous to your area are suited to this purpose. There are many factors that need consideration following are some examples:

  • Choose species most suited to the site - i.e. those tolerant of high winds, coastal conditions, tolerate frost or snow, or to improve fertility etc. 
  • Choose species that are beneficial companions to other plants (also known as nurse plants) by improving the soil and the growth of neighbouring plants
  • Avoid plants with vigorous root systems which will rob the soil of any remaining nutrients or plant them as a shelter-belt, hedgerow or windbreaks for other species.
  • Scatter pioneer plants in small groups around the site to provide protection and avoid competition with other plants.

 

WHY STUDY THIS COURSE?

This course builds on knowledge obtained in Nature Park Management I, but can be taken as a stand-alone module by people who have some level of awareness of land management and nature park design. The course examines nature parks in greater depth, from the components of parks to impact of human visitors and how to overcome this. Elements of design are reviewed as well as risks associated with poor design and inappropriate use of materials and features. Upon completion students will have greater insight into the key strategies for good nature park management.

This course will be of interest to people working, or aspiring to work in:

  • Conservation
  • Ecotourism
  • Land management
  • Parks & gardens   

 

ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.

Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.


How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
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If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

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We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

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We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) for each exam.
More information is here

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You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

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We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

John Mason (Horticulturist)

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.

Martin Powdrill

25 years working in Telecommunications, IT, Organisational Development, and Energy Conservation & Efficiency, prior to setting up his own Permaculture consulting business. Martin has a Bsc (Hons) Applied Science (Resources Option), MSc Computer Studies, P

Rosemary Davies (Horticulturist)

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





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Timothy Walker

B.A.(Botany), RHS.M. Hort., Post.Grad.Dip.Ed.

Timothy is a Botanist, Horticulturist and Gardener. He is an Author, and also a lecturer at Somerville College, Oxford. After training at a number of gardens including Windsor Great Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Timothy commenced work at Oxford Botanic Gardens in 1986. Appointed as "Horti Praefectus" (Superintendent/Director) there in 1988, he held that position until 2014. Under Timothy's watch, the garden won four gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show, and developed 67 acres of MG5 wild flower meadow at the Harcourt Arboretum; a UK threatened habitat. Timothy remains an active practical gardener as well as a highly respected international academic in the fields of horticulture and plant botany.

Megan Cox

Megan has completed a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Conservation) with Honours from Writtle University College, as well as a Master of Science Degree in Countryside Management from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Her experience includes working as a Botanist, Ecologist, Head Gardener, Market Gardener and a Farming and Conservation Officer.

She has worked in various roles in Horticulture, Agriculture and Ecology since 2005. Megan has worked for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Centre for Environment and Rural Affairs among other organisations in the UK, as well as in Australia and Cambodia.

Yvonne Sharpe

RHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt.

Over 30 years of experience in horticulture, education and management, Yvonne has travelled widely within and beyond Europe and has worked in many areas of horticulture from garden centres to horticultural therapy. She has served on industry committees and been actively involved with amateur garden clubs for decades.

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