| Forestry training manual for the Africa region |
|Training program overview|
In order to plan field trips for the trainees which will expose them to forestry projects in which they could be involved and allow them to utilize skills that they will need overseas, you must fully investigate the resources available in the area. We used the field trip to give trainees first hand experience with extension work and at the same time reinforce learnings from early sessions about cross-cultural communication. In Arizona, we considered numerous options that were available and chose the following:
1. Visit to Sonora Desert Museum ecology,
2. Visit to Sonoita, Mexico - data collection,
3. Visit to Argona Pipe National Monument Palanetiem Exhibits,
4. Several trips to the nearby Papago Indian Reservation extension practice, tree planting, cross cultural communication,
5. Arizona State University experimental citrus farm grafting and budding practice,
6. Boyce Thompson Institute Arboretum - seed collection, gathering and storage,
7. Fashion Center Shopping Mall - last minute shopping prior to departure.
After brainstorming your options, pick out the one(s) that will benefit the trainees the most. The field trip provides a good chance to introduce the trainees to a number of people working in forestry and forestry-related fields and to practice being extension workers. If you are going to have the participants practice extension work, it is imperative that you investigate the site and then work closely with the trainees during the field trip. We found that pre-training visits to the field trip sites, thorough explanations of what we wanted to do, and then follow-up phone calls or letters ensured that we were not expecting unavailable opportunities. In the case of the Papago Reservation, we met with the Tribal Chairman, explained our plans, asked permission of the Tribal Council, worked through the local agricultural extension agent, and still found when we arrived that we also needed to contact the individual chairmen of each village even though they had been at the tribal council meeting.
Develop a list of field trip objectives with expected outcomes after you have decided where you want to go and for what purpose. The list should be given to the trainees prior to the field trip.
When you have determined your field trip schedule, it will help to send a copy of the schedule as a reminder of your arrival to the people with whom you plan to see and work.
Prepare and provide a daily schedule of events for each participant. You will need to make arrangements for food and lodging while on the field trip. This should also be done by visiting prospective sites well in advance and making reservations. An additional thirty people for lunch in a small rural cafe on an impromptu basis creates havoc for the cafe owner and his help. However, if they know you are coming, they will generally be most accomodating and can enrich the field trip experience.
Finally, arrange transportation well in advance with confirmed reservations, especially if you are renting vehicles. Be careful in planning your trip so that you do not spend 75% of your time riding the bus. It is also important to remember that you are not only providing transportation for staff and trainees and their luggage, but will also have to take a certain amount of equipment, i.e., shovels, trees for outplanting etc., with you.