Field Methods for Environmental Science

Science & Technology
Environmental Science
Course Code
SCIE 2207
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method Of Instruction
Field Experience
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course introduces students to work in the field, where data are collected and observations made. The course allows students to learn a number of environmental field skills, including: soil, mineral and rock description and classification; sampling and testing methods for water quality and invertebrate assemblage; mapping methods and air photo interpretation. Most work will take place in fieldtrip situations, with the students organized as teams.
Course Content
  1. Lecture topics may include:
  • Introduction:  Gathering data for scientific analysis, safety.
  • Recording techniques for scientific field data.
  • Geological diagrams (columns, cross-sections, maps).
  • Overview of soils, rocks, minerals.
  • Water quality sampling techniques.
  • Sampling for invertebrates.
  • Groundwater observations.
  • Air photo interpretation.
  • Field trip / Lab topics may include:
    • Logging of a vertical section of rock and soil.
    • Field relationships and structure.
  • Air photo interpretation of soil, lithology, water bodies and vegetation, using pocket and desktop stereoscopes and topographic maps.
  • Geologic mapping of rocks and soils.
  • Groundwater sampling and interpretation, using piezometers.
  • Sweep-net sampling of vegetated areas.
  • Sampling and testing of water bodies, including turbidity, pH, invertebrates, TOC, and others.
  • Mapping of natural hazards and vegetal cover.
  • Use of GPS and compass.
  • Identification of organisms.
  • Sampling of soils, sediments, and rock.  Includes use of hand-corer.
  • Methods Of Instruction

    Instruction will primarily utilize field trips with preparatory lectures, and occasional labs.  Text and other readings will be assigned.

    Means of Assessment
    Field/lab reports (8) 80%
    Quizzes (4) 20%


    Learning Outcomes

    This course is designed to supplement and extend previous education in Biology, Environmental Science, and Geology.

    The student will be able to:

    1. Identify environmental features in the field.
    2. Carry out simple environmental measurements, and record them on graphs and tables.
    3. Observe and collect simple field information, and record the information on maps, cross-sections and columns.
    4. Plan, organize and lead simple one-day field parties.
    5. Read, interpret, take bearings from, and locate features on a topographic map.
    6. Develop teamwork skills through working in groups.
    Textbook Materials

    Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:

    • Compton, R.R., Geology in the Field, John Wiley & Sons;  latest ed.
    • Handout package
    • Water-repellant notebook
    • Students must be equipped with clothing for cold and wet weather.  Hiking and rubber boots will be necessary on field trips.


    Course Guidelines

    Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

    Course Transfers

    These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

    Institution Transfer Details for SCIE 2207
    Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU ENVI 1XXX (3)
    Langara College (LANG) LANG ENVS 2470 (3)
    Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU BISC 1XX (3)
    Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU ENVS 2XX (3)
    University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV SCIE 2nd (3)
    University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC ENSC 2XX (3)
    University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV BIO 2XX (3)
    University of Victoria (UVIC) No credit

    Course Offerings

    Summer 2022

    There aren't any scheduled upcoming offerings for this course.