Educational Benefit - Operation Wallacea

Educational Benefit

Apart from the most obvious values of going on an expedition such as contributing towards conservation, the physical challenge and adventurous travel, the experience can also benefit a student by increasing their chances of gaining entry to university or being successful in a job application. This can be achieved in many different ways but it will often depend upon which country and educational system a learner is from. Common to most countries the experience will:

This section of the website details how an expedition experience can enhance this and there are also links to other educational resources which could prove to be extremely valuable before, during and after taking part in an expedition (e.g. in completing a research qualification such as an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) or completing a school specific project). More details on qualification opportunities can be found by going to the specific qualifications or country pages. Advice on how particular exam syllabuses, course work requirements or additional external qualifications can be linked to different expeditions can be obtained by contacting your nearest Opwall office.

Index of Pages


Enhanced understanding of course syllabuses

The lecture courses and practical experience gained in the field provide examples that can help to understand and illustrate many of the principles inherent in most Biology, Environmental Science and Geography courses. For many courses (often country specific) we have looked at how the experience of participating in an expedition might ‘match’ with specific specifications and many of these matching tables can be located in the booklet for each county, found at the top of each country page. Although this ‘matching’ will be greater for some countries than others, e.g. PCR is only experienced in Honduras, it will also depend mainly on the course a particular student follows although much will be relevant to all scientists and it will certainly increase their awareness of ‘how science works’ in a research and conservation context.

Opwall have produced 19 Wallace Resource Library (WRL) datasets and will shortly be introducing 45 Biodiversity Data Tasks. Both are based around actual Opwall research projects and are resources available for use by teachers. Links between the WRL tasks and specific specifications can be found here. The WRL datasets are extensive and complex tasks and the biodiversity data tasks are much shorter, adopting the style of examination questions worth 10+ marks or short 40 minute homework tasks. These should be standalone, and where possible, have explanatory notes to help with the answers.

Yes we have the resource library and this has been very helpful when teaching statistics to A-level Biology students. The resources provide both an exciting context which students can explore using the available images and videos, but also real data that can be analysed to practice using statistical tests. I like it a lot! 
Dr Tom Chipperfield, Teacher at Malmesbury School 

Gaining specific qualifications

Students from all over the world now take part in Operation Wallacea expeditions and there are many and varied opportunities for students to help gain specific qualifications which can be helped by taking part in an expedition e.g. an International School learner may be able to complete part of their EE (Extended Essay) based on their experiences in the field. Other specific qualifications which can be helped by taking part in an expedition include EPQ, Independent Research Projects or Mini Research Projects. For more information please don’t hesitate to contact 


University/job applications and interviews

When applying to university, college or a job, students have the opportunity to stand out from the crowd beyond their personal statement (CV), test or exam results and extracurricular activities. Through entrance essays or interviews, students may choose to reference their time on an expedition to demonstrate independence and global efficacy, while the unique opportunity to meet academics from universities around the world will also set them apart from other applicants.

Furthering Career Development

Opwall’s research expeditions provide an ideal opportunity for students to meet university academics, ecologists and scientists. Also, depending on the expedition, to work alongside university students doing degree courses of potential interest to them. These expeditions provide an excellent way of making contacts and many of the students that have joined previous Opwall expeditions have then completed degrees in relevant subjects, go on to careers in wildlife conservation or field research or return to Opwall to complete their final year dissertations.


Practical field experience

Often many classroom aspects of science can be considered ‘dry’. Operation Wallacea provides a hands on approach to research and ecological survey techniques. Students work with dedicated and passionate scientists on site. This gives them an insight and understanding of how exciting a future in science and geography could be.


This map of Wallace and Darwin’s travels was produced in association with the Wallace Memorial Fund and forms part of the Wallace100 celebrations. Click above for a larger version, or if you would like this in poster form please email The cost is £1 plus p+p.

Corals of the Tropics Thumb  Fishes of Operation Wallacea

Click the images above for a larger version, or if you would like a poster form please email The cost is £1 plus p+p.