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Florida Field School

The Florida Field School will challenge students both intellectually and physically. During the field school, students will experience of combination of classroom and experiential learning. Students will learn more about current environmental research and potential careers and graduate school opportunities. 


Field School History

The Institute of Environmental Research and Education (IERE) has a long history developing experiential learning opportunities focused on teaching students about Florida's unique environment and associated conservation challenges. The founder of the IERE, Dr. Ray Bowman, offered the first field school in 2007 focused on the St. Johns River. The St. Johns River was the perfect system to investigate due to its importance to Jacksonville, abundant biological diversity and rich cultural history. The St. Johns River course was offered in various forms from 2007 until 2018. After 13 years, it was time to rethink the program. While the program has changed, it retains many of the features that made the St. Johns River course so popular. 

Types of Programs

There are types of field school programs offered by the IERE. 

  • Field Fridays: These one day field experience take students into the field with researchers and professionals to look at relevant environmental issues. 
  • Spring Break: The spring break field school is a more in-depth experience that takes place during spring break. During this trip students will visit some of Florida's best natural areas and speak with the researchers and professionals who are managing and restoring these areas. 

How to Participate

The field school programs are open to all current UNF students. While these programs would be beneficial to most students, they are specifically designed for student interested in environmental research, careers and/or graduate school. 


Cost to Participate

There is a fee for students to participate in the field school programs. While every effort is made to reduce the cost of these programs, student fees help cover the cost of travel, lodging, supplies and meals. If students are experiencing a financial hardship, they can contact the IERE to discuss options for participation. 

Examples of Past Programs

The topics and activities of the Florida Field School change each semester, however, below are examples of some recent programs. 

  • Wildlife Conservation at White Oak: Students enjoyed a guided tour at White Oak, followed by a panel discussion on conservation careers.
  • Coastal and Community Resiliency in St. Augustine: Students participated in a walking tour of St. Augustine with resiliency experts.  After the tour, learned from the experts about local, regional and state resiliency efforts.

Upcoming Programs

prescribed fire

Field Friday – Forestry and Fire

Date: Friday, Feb. 25

Time: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Location: Cary State Forest

Cost: $10


Join for our only Field Friday of the spring semester focused on the Florida Forest Service (FFS). The FFS's mission is to protect and manage the forest resources of Florida, ensuring that they will be available for future generations. The FFS manages more than 1 million acres of state forests for multiple public uses, including timber, recreation and wildlife habitat.

Coast at sunset

Spring Break Field School – Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve

Dates: Saturday, March 12 to Thursday, March 17, 2022

Availability: Open to all current UNF students

Deadline: Applications due Sunday, Jan. 30

Cost: $375


Registration for this event is closed!


The spring break field school is a unique opportunity for students to learn about Florida’s unique ecosystems and the ongoing efforts to protect and conserve our natural environment. The spring break field school will focus on the Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve located on the west coast of Florida.