Course Title: Conduct field research into natural and cultural resources

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2022

Course Code: ENVI5103C

Course Title: Conduct field research into natural and cultural resources

Important Information:

Please note that this course may have compulsory in-person attendance requirements for some teaching activities.

To participate in any RMIT course in-person activities or assessment, you will need to comply with RMIT vaccination requirements which are applicable during the duration of the course. This RMIT requirement includes being vaccinated against COVID-19 or holding a valid medical exemption.

Please read this RMIT Enrolment Procedure as it has important information regarding COVID vaccination and your study at RMIT:

Please read the Student website for additional requirements of in-person attendance:

Please check your Canvas course shell closer to when the course starts to see if this course requires mandatory in-person attendance. The delivery method of the course might have to change quickly in response to changes in the local state/national directive regarding in-person course attendance.

School: 530T Built Environment and Sustainability

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5418 - Diploma of Conservation and Ecosystem Management

Course Contact: Thierry Demathieu

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 8359

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

The teacher for this Course is Seb Buckingham

Contact details:


Nominal Hours: 200

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

In this course you will develop the skills and knowledge required to conduct field research into natural resource and cultural areas for resource management and related purposes.

This course applies to individuals who work autonomously and apply judgement and defined responsibility in known or changing contexts and within broad but established parameters.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

AHCILM501 Conduct field research into natural and cultural resources


1. Review existing knowledge

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Examine existing information gathered through investigation and enterprise recording processes to determine key features

1.2 Review oral evidence, where it exists

1.3 Inspect sites to assess condition and availability of further information

1.4 Identify information, records and places previously destroyed or damaged or under threat as factors to be incorporated in the assessment process, strategies and plans

1.5 Assess scope of information for adequacy against the requirements of legislation, Codes of Practice, Burra Charter guidelines and protocols

1.6 Identify appropriate database, geographic information system and other electronic and manual recording systems for data collection

1.7 Identify and access sources of expertise in research environments, identification of pollution, degradation and disturbance, and national and international issues and agreements within and external to the enterprise

1.8 Identify and record areas of inadequate information


2. Identify stakeholders

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Identify stakeholders in conjunction with local Communities and groups, and government documentation and interviews under the direction of a relevant cultural reference group

2.2 Investigate and record the current and relevant past land tenure for the place/area

2.3 Determine Indigenous interests through culturally appropriate approaches to regional and Community organisations and individuals

2.4 Apply proper protocols and conduct key consultations approaches to regional and Community organisations and individuals

2.5 Comply with privacy requirements according to the directions of stakeholders and legislative and enterprise requirements


3. Develop research approach

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Determine objectives of the field research in conjunction with those commissioning the research

3.2 Use objectives to identify specific types of investigation, techniques to be used, and physical areas of investigation

3.3 Assess the types of investigation and techniques selected for hazards and risks in designated environment, including the work health and safety requirements, access issues, and management of the research in a range of weather and area conditions

3.4 Review existing information and data records to determine the starting points for the fieldwork

3.5 Ensure research methodology is consistent with the research objectives and in accordance with established natural resource management practice

3.6 Identify required resources to establish and maintain the research program within the required time schedules and ensure they are appropriate to the environments that will be encountered

3.7 Select personnel for their competency in research techniques and safe operation in the expected environmental and cultural conditions

3.8 Identify stakeholders to be included in the consultation process

3.9 Estimate and submit costs of field research for approval

3.10 Establish sampling and recording processes for research information according to best practice and scientific standards

3.11 Ensure investigations comply with Burra Charter guidelines and other legislative requirements.


4. Conduct field investigations

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Undertake consultation and fieldwork to obtain information required to meet investigation objectives

4.2 Follow work health and safety, environmental sustainability and biosecurity policies and procedures when working in field

4.3 Adjust previously determined methodology in light of progressive results and stakeholder feedback

4.4 Coordinate observations, records and monitoring in accordance with scientific practice and to meet research objectives

4.5 Determine ecological, biological and geological, microbiological and entomological diversity within specified area

4.6 Identify and record evidence of cultural resources in area

4.7 Identify impacts from areas external to natural and cultural resources in area under investigation

4.8 Deploy equipment, techniques and people to carry out investigations

4.9 Document and approve each field operation according to legislative and enterprise requirements for work in the research environment

4.10 Source appropriate equipment and skills for the capture, management and sampling of animal species

4.11 Analyse information for impact on previously held hypothesis and other resources


5. Develop process for involving decision-makers

Performance Criteria:

5.1 Use information on stakeholders to determine interests held by organisations, groups and individuals and cultural dimensions

5.2 Define issues to be addressed with interest groups

5.3 Develop consultation and decision-making process to address the issues with individuals, groups and organisations in a culturally appropriate manner

5.4 Provide appropriate time for consultative processes within groups and between individuals to occur and to obtain feedback on issues

5.5 Form a decision-making group, such as cultural reference groups and other groups, where assistance is required to direct investigation, access information to address issues or review the significance of place or area


6. Report on the field investigation

Performance Criteria:

6.1 Consult stakeholders on draft findings

6.2 Document the basis for the determination of outcomes to legislative requirements, the organisation's policies and practices, and international and national processes

6.3 Submit the determination of significance report to the organisation and its external review processes as required by legislation and Codes of Practice

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course you will have developed and applied the skills and knowledge required to demonstrate competency in the above elements. 

Details of Learning Activities

1. Classroom-based lectures 
2. Self-directed  research in computer labs, libraries 
3. Field trips 
4. A compulsory 5 day field trip to conduct research. This will take place Week 12.
You should plan well in advance to attend this Field Trip. It will difficult to complete the requirements of this Course if you are unable to attend.

Teaching Schedule

Week No.

Week Starting

Learning activity



Introduction to the course
Overview: Aboriginal history with emphasis on Victoria
What are ‘natural’ and ‘cultural resources’? What is a “sacred site”?
Where are you from? (Aboriginal place names; Clan & Language groups; Cultural sites)
Self-guided research into personal history. Computer Room

Identify Groups, and topics, for Ass 1 (Small group presentations)

Where I’m from

(Hurdle Task. Electronic lodgement Due)


Library research skills: RMIT Library seminar
Worksheet 1: Familiarisation with Resources. Online Quiz, Ungraded: S/NYS) Cultural Resources: Cultural resources Toolbox: Stone Tools; Coastal and Freshwater middens, Historic places; Scar Trees etc Assessment 1 (Student oral presentations):

Where I’m from (student presentations, Randomly selected)


Field Trip to Bunjilaka
Review the experience of Aboriginal groups in SE Australia
Review worksheet 1

Meet at Melbourne Museum forecourt at 11.45am

Where I’m from


Review existing knowledge / Sources of knowledge
Visit to State Library (Readings, oral histories, old photos, Diaries, Reports, Historic artwork, manuscripts, settlement of Melbourne.etc.
Developing a research approach: Seminar
Protocols for communication; Identifying stakeholders; Permissions; Hunting down resources / Accessing research material; What is cultural appropriation?

Worksheet 2: State Library


Conducting Field investigations: Preliminary research (Wurundjeri)
First Australians DVD
Introduction to Readings: Presland; etc.

Small Group Presentations (1st tranche)


Assessment 1 due Presentations:

1.1; 1.2; 1.3



Wurundjeri: Cultural awareness (1/2 Day)


Reflection on Cultural awareness day

Develop a research approach for the assessment of Scarred trees at Murundaka Reserve, Lower Plenty. (Intro to GPS tools)
Group activity, with resources including 1. NSW Scar Tree Manual; 2. Scar tree brochure 3.. Photos

Small group presentations

Assessment 1 due Presentations



Murundaka scarred tree mapping exercise (Field trip to Lower Plenty)

Mid Semester Break, no classes

Thursday 9th April to Wed 15th April


Follow-up to Murundaka Mapping: Downloading data

Legislation: Native Title: The Eddie Mabo story and beyond..
The Aboriginal Heritage Act 2008 (AAV Guest speaker)(or Mik Edwards)
2 views of Native Title: Gary Foley and Noel Pearson

Small group presentation.

Assessment 1 due presentation



Student research exercise: RAP’s, Native Title, NT Rights and Interests
Maps, Cultural maps, cultural iconography-dreaming paths and trading routes
Mapping exercise using Google Maps
Small group presentations

Assessment 2 due: Research Project Murundaka scarred trees due


Assessment 1 due presentation

1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9


Research existing knowledge 1 (Gunditjmara)
Some History, Archaeology, EVC’s, Human imposed patterns on the landscape.
Student presentations

Field trip organization

Ass grps 1.10; 1.11;1.12

(in-class presentations)


5 Day Field Trip to Gunditjmara Country
Attendance is compulsory for this Field trip

Nightly discussion groups are also compulsory

Small group presentations: 1.11, 1.12 ;1.13 (Tuesday, Wednesday night)


7/5: Ass grps  1.13;1.14

8/5: 1.15; 1.16:


Reflection on Field trip

Research existing Knowledge 2. (Gunditjmara):
Relationships between Geology, Season and resource availability (Intro to Coutts, and others)
Intro to Aboriginal use of Fire Readings
Guest speaker OR Vids (TBA)

Ass.grp 1.17; 1.18 )


Review knowledge 3: SW Victoria- a cultural landscape? (Guest Speaker)
Logbooks returned


Self guided work on Final Assignment

Assessment 3 due

Mid year break No Classes until Week starting 6th July


The above delivery plan is to be used as a guide only and is correct at time of distribution. Sessions may be deferred and/or cancelled.


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Dark Emu, Black Seeds: Agriculture or accident? by Bruce Pascoe

The people of Budj Bim: Engineers of aquaculture, builders of stone house settlements and warriors defending Country, by the Gunditjmara people with Gib Wettenhall


Presland, Gary, First People: The Eastern Kulin of Melbourne, Port Phillip and Central Victoria, Melbourne: Museum Victoria, 2010

Other Resources

’The First Australians’ DVD set will give you an excellent background to Aboriginal history and issues. Includes a good overview of Wurundjeri (Woiwurrung) and Coranderrk.

’The Making of 10 canoes’ (Rolf de Heer) provides a fascinating study in the necessary protocols to be followed when researching or otherwise working with Indigenous communities.

The ’Cultural Resource Management Toolbox’ available online at


Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is ongoing throughout the semester. Your knowledge and understanding of course content is assessed through participation in class exercises, oral presentations and through the application of learned skills and insights to your written tasks. Full assessment briefs will be provided and can be found on CANVAS. 

Assessment Tasks

Assessment 1: Preparation for Field Research

Assessment 2: Research Project- Murundaka Scar Trees

Assessment 3: Filed notes and Discussion Paper

See Canvas for due dates

To pass the course you need achieve a satisfactory result for every assessment.
You will be given only two attempts for each assessment to demonstrate you have the required skills.

A third attempt can only be offered after discussions between the teacher and the Program Coordinator and is not automatic.

Assessment Matrix

Other Information

Credit Transfer and/or Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
You may be eligible for credit towards courses in your program if you have already met the learning/competency outcomes through previous learning and/or industry experience. To be eligible for credit towards a course, you must demonstrate that you have already completed learning and/or gained industry experience that is:

  • Relevant
  • Current
  • Satisfies the learning/competency outcomes of the course

Please refer to to find more information about credit transfer and RPL.

Study Support: 

Study Support provides free learning and academic development advice to you. 
Services offered by Study Support to support your numeracy and literacy skills are: 

assignment writing, thesis writing and study skills advice 
maths and science developmental support and advice 
English language development 

Please Refer to find more information about Study and learning Support 

Equitable Learning Services (ELS):

If you are suffering from long-term medical condition or disability, you should contact Equitable Learning Services (ELS) to seek advice and support to complete your studies.
Please refer to to find more information about services offered by Equitable Learning Services (ELS).

Late submission: 

If you require an Extension of Submittable Work (assignments, reports or project work etc.) for 7 calendar days or less (from the original due date) and have valid reasons, you must complete and lodge an Application for Extension of Submittable Work (7 Calendar Days or less) form and lodge it with the Senior Educator/ Program Manager. 
The application must be lodged no later than one working day before the official due date. You will be notified within no more than 2 working days of the date of lodgment as to whether the extension has been granted. 
If you seek an Extension of Submittable Work for more than 7 calendar days (from the original due date) must lodge an Application for Special Consideration form under the provisions of the Special Consideration Policy, preferably prior to, but no later than 2 working days after the official due date. 

Submittable Work (assignments, reports or project work etc.) submitted late without approval of an extension will not be accepted or marked. 

Special consideration: 

Please Refer to find more information about special consideration 

Academic Integrity: 

"Academic integrity means acting with the values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility in learning, teaching and research."

It means referencing the work of others while developing your own insights, knowledge and ideas.

Breaches of academic integrity include:

  • plagiarism and failure to correctly acknowledge sources
  • contract cheating or paying/getting another person to prepare an assignment
  • submitting work prepared by another person
  • copying other people’s work
  • cheating in exams
  • breaching the Research Code
  • using unauthorised materials or devices

Please Refer: to find more information about plagiarism. 

All email communications will be sent to your RMIT email address and you must regularly check your RMIT emails.

Students will be able to access course information and learning materials through the Learning Hub and may be provided with additional materials in class. Lists of relevant reference books, resources in the library and accessible Internet sites will be provided where possible. You will also use equipment and software packages in the laboratory for the project work. During the course, you will be directed to websites to enhance your knowledge and understanding of difficult concepts

Course Overview: Access Course Overview