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The Independent Online
If you're into habitat and wildlife conservation, and have always wanted to go on a field trip, but need technical guidance, help is at hand. The Royal Geographical Society's expeditionary advisory centre is organising workshops from 20-25 April that will introduce you to the golden rules of research on conservation expeditions world-wide.

The workshops are led by scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the National History Museum, BirdLife International, Fauna and Flora International, Harrison Zoological Museum, and the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester. You can learn how to assess endangered habitats, or how to survey wildlife, from the tiniest insects to the largest mammals. Workshops in wildlife sound-recording and film-making are also being held.

If funding an expedition seems out of your league, you may be able to get help from the BP conservation programme. This week it will award pounds 61,000 to 14 student research projects from around the world. Winners include a joint project between the University of East Anglia and the National Museum of Kenya to survey the Mount Kasigau forest - a precious habitat for endangered birds. Another is a joint project between Ecuador, Britain and Australian researchers, which will undertake zoological and environmental impact research in the Podocarput National Park and the Rio Nangaritza Valley in Ecuador.

Students in full or part-time education from anywhere in the world can submit proposals on conservation initiatives for next year's awards. But travellers do need more than a passing penchant for wildlife. The programme demands high standards of scientific research, projects must address a globally threatened species or habitat and the researcher must work closely with local communities.

For details of workshops, contact Louise Every at the Royal Geographical Society (0171-591 3030); e-mail: eac@rgs.org. For information on applying to the BP Conservation Awards, contact BirdLife International (01223 277 318); e-mail: bp-conservation-prog@birdlife.org.uk.

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