At the moment we are running the ECOL 310 Field Ecology course. Our third year students have spent a week in and around Hanmer Springs and the last week at Nina Valley, near Lewis Pass. For the last few days they students have put in practice some of the skills that they have learned in a fantastic alpine beech forest. Projects have ranged from bird community structure to mammal pest activity at different altitudes to weed plant diversity up the valley, to lichen diversity among others. Students have been learning that the best laid plans can come unstuck when you are working in a challanging environment with significant hazards and logistical issues. Sampling is always easier when designing the protocol in the hut!