Birmingham Bog

Photo of part of the bog


The Birmingham Bog is a novel outdoor learning environment which is a designated teaching space that consists of a suite of peatland mesocosms (isolated, miniature peatland ecosystems) and associated hydrological instrumentation. The Birmingham Bog is used as a mesocosm simulation for undergraduate teaching, to offer a representation of the field system that can be utilised to provide visual and interactive practice sessions alongside more traditional forms of teaching.

The Birmingham Bog learning environment was developed within the ECOLAB facility on the University of Birmingham Camps. This was accompanied by a redesign of the Wetland Environments module to integrate field based teaching within Birmingham Bog into individual lectures. The potential for expanding this research to modules across college of Life and Environmental Sciences was also considered, with potential beneficiaries of the teaching pedagogy identified. How this teaching approach fits with wider learning environments within Geography and the recognised benefits of Geography field based teaching were also determined through a detailed assessment of the literature.

In addition to the initial aims, the project has exceeded the planned scope in two key areas:

1)      The example application of this environment for teaching activities has helped to support a successful £650K DIF (Dynamic Investment Fund) bid within the University to fully redevelop the ECOLAB site.

2)      The findings are currently being developed into a research publication to be submitted to the Journal of Geography in Higher Education.

The inspiring nature of the project has been to see the extent to which hands on field based teaching excites and inspires students about physical geography in a way that is difficult to achieve within lectures. This had driven them to develop their depth of understanding of the these wetlands systems and physical geography more generally.

Birmingham Bog outdoor laboratory: potentials and possibilities for embedding field-based teaching within the undergraduate classroom. Catherine Oliver, Samantha Leader & Nicholas Kettridge. Journal of Geography in Higher Education:

Project Category:

Use of lab space and technology enhanced learning

Funding Allocated:


Funding stream:

Education Enhancement Fund
Alumni Impact Fund (from generous donations to the Circles of influence campaign from alumni of the University)


Dr Nick Kettridge, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences (


For more information, contact the projects office on, quoting reference CSLP057.