Sweden field trip
The Sweden field trip gives students the opportunity to visit one of the most ‘environmentally progressive’ countries in the world. The trip takes students to Gothenburg (ranked the ‘world’s most sustainable destination’ for the last six years) and Store Mosse National Park (the largest marsh area in southern Sweden – home to unique flora and fauna).
Students undertake research projects that examine environmental science and management issues in the region. Below you can find examples of some of the topics students have researched to date. 

Examining carbon fluxes in protected peatlands 

Store Mosse National Park is the largest expanse of raised bog in Western Europe. This vast wetland is home to a wide variety of plant species and is an important location for many rare breeding bird species. It is also a significant carbon store, with peatlands globally storing more carbon than all other ecosystems combined. 
Our students look at important components of how peatlands function. This includes understanding the different vegetation communities that are found on the peatland and how these communities influence how much carbon is stored below ground as peat! 
Students in Sweden on field trip
Assessing environmental conditions at Store Mosse
Students in Sweden on field trip
Forest with river near Hestra, Sweden

Forest microclimates in urban and natural settings 

Store Mosse National Park is home to a range of forest management strategies – many of which differ to practices found in the UK. Importantly, forests and trees have large impacts on their environment, including the microclimate. Different flora and fauna can produce different changes in the microclimate. These changes alter the conditions for the growth and development of other species – as well as affecting humans too!
Students on the field trip examine the different factors related to forests and trees that affect the microclimate. This includes researching the effect of different functional groups (e.g. coniferous versus broadleaf) and the role of ground-layer plant composition on microclimate. 

Reducing our consumption through the ‘sharing economy’

Sweden is considered to be a global leader in building and promoting sharing economies. Sharing economies are made up of projects that reduce the environmental impacts of consumption by promoting ‘access over ownership’. This can include the sharing of goods (such as clothes and tools), skills (such as how to repair items), or even land (for community gardens). 
Plymouth students examine the sustainability gains and impacts of sharing projects in Gothenburg. This includes exploring platforms (such as apps) that promote sharing, as well as evaluating how different strategies might shift people’s consumption behaviours. Their research has even informed the development of sharing projects back here in the UK!
Students in Sweden on field trip
Advertisement for Smarta Kartan – a Gothenburg sharing platform
Sweden field trip
Students in Gothenburg city centre

Communicating the value of nature to national park visitors

Sweden is widely considered to be a leader in environmental conservation and was the first country in the world to introduce an environmental protection act. It is also home to unique science communication techniques and technologies that educate visitors in the values of environmental protection and conservation.
But, do they work?! Our students examine the different strategies used to communicate scientific knowledge to visitors. This includes researching techniques aimed to engage specific groups (e.g. children), and also includes working with visitors/local groups to assess if these techniques lead to greater knowledge and more environmentally-positive behaviours.

Learning from the journey and the destination: embracing slow-travel to Sweden 

It’s important that we consider – and reduce – the environmental impact of our fieldwork. One of the attractions of Sweden as a destination is that it can be reached through lower-carbon travel options. 
Leading the way this year was staff member Dr Simon Dickinson, who cycled to and from Sweden. He covered 1200miles and visited a range of habitats and environmental projects during the journey – sharing his experiences with students along the way. 
Students also embraced low-carbon options. Many students utilised trains, ferries, bikes, and other transport-sharing initiatives to reach the fieldwork site. Students were also offered the opportunity to reduce or offset their impacts through volunteering in conservation activities in Plymouth. 
Student field trip to Sweden
Dr Simon Dickinson on a rest stop in the Netherlands
Environmental students

The world needs environmental specialists who can assess changing environmental conditions, but also design and implement solutions too.

More than ever, environmental specialists are critical to addressing global environmental challenges. Our degrees will provide you with the knowledge and skills to identify and develop solutions to a wide range of environmental challenges on land and in our oceans, including climate change, biodiversity loss, conservation and sustainability. You can learn from expert, experienced, and passionate researchers while based in a city surrounded by some of the UK’s most unique and spectacular habitats.

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