Canada - Operation Wallacea


Enhanced understanding of syllabus

Many students going on an Operation Wallacea expedition are likely to be studying Biology or Environmental Science. A significant amount of what is being learnt in the classroom can be experienced first-hand whilst on an expedition and there is significant overlap with the curriculum. More specific details will depend on the curriculum of the province.

University applications and interviews

When applying to university or college, students have the opportunity to stand out from the crowd beyond their high school transcript, test scores, and extracurricular activities. Through entrance essays or interviews, students may choose to reference their time on 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.

Additional research related qualifications

Many schools in Canada offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) and within this award are the Extended Essay (EE) and Creativity, Action and Service components (CAS).  Experience with other schools has shown that a student can contribute confidently towards  these important components whilst taking part in an expedition.

Follow the links to EE and CAS for more detail on how it might work.

The practical scheme of work (PSOW) is the practical course planned by the science teacher and acts as a summary of all the investigations carried out by the candidate.  Students whilst on expedition will take part in practical work and these could contribute significantly towards their IB Internal Assessment for IB Biology.  The appropriate expedition booklet outlines the practicals they they will be involved with.

Furthering Career Development

Opwall’s research expeditions provide an ideal opportunity for students to meet university academics and also, depending on the expedition, to work alongside university students doing degree courses of potential interest to them. These expedition 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 and gone on to careers in wildlife conservation or field research.

Quote from a teacher who took a group of students to South Africa with Operation Wallacea.

Perhaps the most important part of the IB course that is relevant to the Opwall trip is the Extended Essay which every IB student has to do – this is like a mini-dissertation and is a topic of the students own choosing – I have had some students doing their essays on topics from their trips – ‘The over population of elephants in Kruger National Park’ and ‘The impact of elephants on the habitat in Kruger’. Another student is doing something on manatee deaths (from the Cuba trip last summer). The essay must have a clear Biological research question and the best essays involve them carrying out some research or collecting some data as part of a bigger project like one of Opwall’s  biodiversity monitoring programmes: the data needs to be evaluated and interpreted and not simply restated.