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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 that are in in good academic standing . While these programs would be beneficial to most students, they are the perfect experience for any student interested in environmental research, careers or graduate school. All students may apply, but priority will be given to biology, chemistry, engineering and interdisciplinary environmental students. 


Cost to Participate

There is a fee to participate in the field schools. 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. 

Upcoming Programs

Historic building

Field Friday – Coastal and Community Resiliency

Date: Friday, Sept. 10

Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

LocationHistoric Downtown Parking Facility (10 S Castillo Dr St. Augustine, FL 32084)

Cost: $10


Registration for this event is closed!


The first ever Field Friday will focus on coastal and community resiliency. Participants will learn from the experts on how the nation's oldest city is preparing for sea level rise and planning for a resilient future. The event will start with a walking tour of St. Augustine where experts will highlight some ongoing projects aimed improving resiliency. After the tour, we will hear from the experts about local, regional and state resiliency efforts. The experts will also discuss career options for students and how they can get involved with resiliency efforts.


Field Friday – Wildlife Conservation

Date: Friday, Oct. 8 

Time: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Cost: $20


Registration for this event is closed!


Wildlife conservation is a diverse field that includes professionals from biology, engineering, psychology, education and more. This Field Friday will introduce students to wildlife conservation careers by visiting White Oak, a one-of-a-kind center for conservation located in Northeast Florida. White Oak is dedicated to the conservation and care of endangered and threatened species and partners with wildlife agencies here and abroad.


Participants will enjoy a guided tour through the White Oak facility where they will learn about specific conservation needs of animals such as rhinoceros, elephants, cheetahs and Florida panthers. After the tour, participants will enjoy lunch and then attend a panel discussion on conservation careers. The registration fee covers transportation and lunch. Due to the remote location of White Oak, students must travel with the IERE unless other arrangements are made in advance. 

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Spring Break Trip – Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve

Dates: March 12-16, 2022

Cost: TBD


The 2022 spring break field school will take place on the Nature Coast and focus on the Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve. Full details and applications for the 2022 field school will be released in spring 2022.