Course Information

CONS 101: Introduction to Conservation Science

Thursdays, 1:00 to 1:50 pm                                         

Rm 1005, Forest Science Centre



Dr. Allan Carroll, Rm 3034, Forest Sciences Centre, e-mail: “allan.carroll ‘at’”; Ph: 604.822.3360
          Office hours by appointment

Mr. Felipe Rossetti de Paula, Rm 3621, Forest Sciences Centre, e-mail: “felipe.rossettidepaula ‘at’ “”
          Office hours by appointment



Welcome to the Natural Resources Conservation Program and Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences!  We offer this 1-credit course to familiarize you with the field of Conservation Science, some of the faculty that will interact with you in the coming years, and some of the many pressing issues in our field.  We hope the lectures interest you, help you decide if the NRC program or a career in conservation is right for you, help you to become comfortable with faculty in the program, and encourage you to immediately look for experiences in your area of interest.

Those of you not registered in the Faculty of Forestry may find some of the activities in the course somewhat unrelated to your own studies. We hope your decision to take the class is rewarded by gaining an appreciation of what Conservation Scientists do and how the principles of conservation might be applied in your own field of interest. Because human social and economic systems are key drivers of environmental change, opportunities to enhance global and local conservation goals via economic, political and social policy are often close at hand.

Our course has several specific objectives, including:

1)      Introduction to several general concepts in conservation science;

2)      Exposure to faculty members, graduate students and other practitioners working in conservation science;

3)      Exposure to research opportunities in and outside of the Faculty of Forestry;

4)      Putting a “human face” on issues in conservation science and practitioners in the field;

5)      Provision of guidance on how you might organize your time as an undergrad to maximize your chances of obtaining interesting work in conservation.


This course is intended to provide you with an early exposure to some of the issues in conservation and the people that work on them daily, rather than to teach specific concepts or techniques in detail.  Testing and evaluation are de-emphasized, and rewards are provided for those seeking exposure to conservation-related issues by undertaking self-guided activities. Final marks are based on two short exams (35% each), a short assignment (30%), and then augmented by extra-credit points.  Self-guided activities (field trips. conservation-related volunteer work, etc.) have the potential to add substantially (10%) to your final mark.  Late assignments will be penalized 5% per day, unless discussed in advance with Allan or Felipe, and assignments will not be accepted once graded assignments have been returned in class.

Assignment (30%)

One of the biggest threats to global biodiversity is the increasing impact of alien invasive species.  For this assignment you are required to find in your local area 3 different invasive species (1 mammal, 1 bird, and 1 plant) and photograph them.  Then, using these photos, you must write a report that provides (i) the identity of each of the species, (ii) their point of origin (where they came from), (iii) when they were introduced into our area, (iv) the impacts they have caused, and (v) control efforts if any.  The report is limited to 1 page with single-spaced text, including photos. If you wish to include citations, you may add an additional page.  Due date for the assignment is Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017.  Reports should be submitted as colour hard copies to Felipe.

There are many online resources to aid you with your assignment. For example, visit The Invasive Species Council of BC (, the BC Inter-Ministry Invasive Species Working Group (, or E-flora BC (

Any papers that you cite in your assignment should be formatted in standard scientific format – consult the citation guide provided under the “Handouts” tab for examples. Your writing should also be professional and scientific in tone, as outlined in the guide to scientific writing.

Due date for the assignment is Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017.  Reports should be submitted as hard copies to Felipe.


Self-guided ‘extra-credit’ activities

Self-guided activities related to conservation science can generate up to an additional 10% to be added to your grade.  These activities include hiking and camping, tours/lectures by groups such as the Stanley Park Ecological Society, Vancouver Natural History Society, Western Canada Wilderness Committee, Capilano Salmon Hatchery, or volunteer activities with conservation-related organizations.

To receive extra credit for these activities you will be required to write a brief report (1 pg, double-spaced) detailing your destination, topics discussed and one or two key ‘lessons’ that you’ve learned.  You must also provide positive documentation of your involvement in the activity (e.g. a picture of you on the trip with the group/guide, in front of a sign or other identifiable object, etc.) embedded in your 1-pg write-up.  In general, public lectures or half-day activities count as 2.5%, full-day activities 5%, and weekends 10%, depending on the potential for learning.  For those interested in learning about activism, environmental law or social aspects of conservation, which are important topics not emphasized in this course, consider approaching a group like Sierra Legal, Suzuki Foundation, Western Canada Wilderness Committee, World Wildlife Fund or other group about volunteer opportunities.

An extensive list of suggested self-guided activities and issues to consider while undertaking them is provided on this website. If you choose an activity that is not listed, please check in advance with Allan or Feilipe to (i) ensure that the goals of the trip match those of the course, (ii) determine how to document your trip and what you learned, and (iii) how much extra-credit might apply.

Please hand in a hard copy of your report(s) in class, anytime during the semester