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You’ve seen that job description phrase “Must be comfortable living and working in remote locations under primitive conditions” – this course will give you that experience! Students will travel across Newfoundland learning to collect wildlife population and habitat data while backpacking, kayaking, and traveling through beautiful and remote stretches of far eastern Canada. This six credit course provides three 3000-level credits each of Adventure Education (AE) that can be applied toward the Adventure Education skills credits requirement and Wildlife Biology (WF), counts as  an academic field experience, and can be substituted for WF 3103: Habitat Assessment and Management.

Prerequisite: BI 2004 Population and Community Ecology and the ability to procure a valid passport for Canadian travel by June 2019.

Instructors: Aly McKnight and Adventure Instructor TBA

Enrollment Cap: 10 students

Course dates: June 20 – July 10, 2019 (June 20 – 22 on campus, June 23 – July 7 in Canada, July 8 – 10 on campus)

Course fee: $400 ($200 Non-Refundable Deposit due April 26th, 2019).

Tuition: $3420

Additional Course Details

Travel destinations: Gros Morne National Park, Twillingate Islands, Bonavista and Avalon peninsulas

The island of Newfoundland forms part of the sparsely populated Canadian province of “Newfoundland and Labrador.” The island has a complex geologic history – we will see evidence of the dramatic tectonic plate collision that formed the island and boat through shadows cast by billion-year-old cliffs. We will experience (and measure!) a wide variety of Newfoundland’s ecosystems – the northern boreal forest (“tuckamore” in the local lingo), boreal lakes and rivers, the distinct “Tablelands” of Gros Morne National Park, and several coastal marine ecosystems, including the unique cold-water Arctic refugium of Bonne Bay. Wildlife abounds – before we even reach the island, we will be surveying the ferry track for marine mammals and seabirds. Many wildlife species can be found on the island, including black bears, caribou, Arctic hares, and a wide variety of sea and land birds. Moose are an invasive species here, reaching densities of two moose per square kilometer in some regions.


June 20 – June 22: Unity campus; pre-departure preparations (learning activities, planning, packing)

June 23: Van ride from Unity to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

June 24: Six-hour ferry ride from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland

June 25: Guided geology tour in Gros Morne National Park

June 26: Day hike up Gros Morne mountain

June 27: Bonne Bay exploration (sea kayaking; morning), backpacking preparation (afternoon)

June 28 – July 1: Backpacking trip – Long Range Traverse from Western Brook Pond to Gros Morne trailhead

July 2-3: Flex days

July 4: Twillingate (sea kayaking)

July 5: Bonavista peninsula (puffin hike)

July 6: Witless Bay (whale/seabird tour); overnight ferry ride (12 hours) back to Nova Scotia

July 7: Van ride back to Unity

July 8 – July 10: Trip wrap-up back at Unity (data analysis, gear cleaning/stowage, culminating activities)


Special gear/equipment needs

Mosquito headnet and protective clothing; write-in-the-rain journal; and good quality, well-broken-in hiking boots. There will also be a required field guide. Binoculars are also highly recommended.

Other considerations

We will be “roughing it” for the majority of the course – this means sleeping in tents, preparing our own food, and regularly going without running water, electricity, and internet access for multiple days at a time. Students should be capable of hiking for several days while carrying a backpack with a reasonable load of personal and camping gear.