Dr Linda Birch

Position: Programme Leader BA (Hons) Outdoor Leadership and Management

College: College of Life & Natural Sciences

Department: Life Sciences

Subject area: Outdoor Recreation

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I am responsible for the management and delivery of the academic modules on the BA (Hons) Outdoor Leadership and Management programme delivered at the University oif Derby's Outdoor Leadership Centre, Oaklands Manor.

Teaching responsibilities

I teach on-campus at both undergraduate and master's level:

  • Master's Surveying Methodology (7TM502)

Module Leader:

  • The Outdoor Classroom (6OU504)
  • Mountain Ecology
  • Outdoor Conservation (5OU505)
  • Introduction to the Natural Environment (4OU501)
  • Research and Academic Skills
  • Member of the College Research Committee and PhD supervisor

Professional interests

I graduated in Ecological Sciences with Countryside Management Honours from the University of Edinburgh and then started working almost immediatly with the National Trust as a warden in the Hope and Edale valleys in the Peak District. After two years as a warden, I moved with my husband to Switzerland where we remained for the following ten years.

During this time I undertook my PhD research at the Univeristy of Zurich and was chosen to participate in the 'Endoceresio 89 Project' which allowed me to go to the depths of Lake Lugano collecting sediment samples in a three man submarine. After completion of my PhD I continued researching in Switzerland before returning to the UK. I now work for the University of Derby at the Buxton Campus and teach the environmental modules within the Outdoor programmes.

Research interests

From my PhD and postgraduate research which were heavily based in the field of Environmental Chemistry, I have moved towards the experiences of childhood and the environment. I am keenly aware of Richard Louv's concept of a 'Nature Deficit Disorder' and am examining the ways in which we can engage young people in the environment and instill a sense of wonder in nature.

  • Feb 2016 Environmental Sustainability Research Centre Bid
  • A collaborative project examining the impact of visitors to a show cave on environmental factors (£1250)
  • Jan 2015 Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme, Research bid
  • A collaborative project between a student, an environmental consultant and the Scout movement to identify a 'best practice' environmental protocol for the implementation of large scale outdoor scout camps (£1271)
  • Jan 2014 Research bid
  • A collaborative project with, 3 students and an industry specialist to create a typology of urban green spaces based upon their ecological value and thewir potential for creating or promoting a sense of connection to the natural environment, the so called Nature Connectedness'. (£2300)
  • May 2010
  • A collaborative project to the impact of technology on the learning experience through the development of an innovative field guide for identifying plant species. (£3360)
  • 2009 ALSF Bid
  • A collaborative project with 3 students for the Aggregate Levy Fund to monitor and record pollutant levels in an abandioned quarry site (£20,000)
  • December 2007. Research Inspired Curriculum Fund
  • A collaborative project with 'Moors for the Future' project to evaluate the use of mp3 trails as an interpretive tool in the Peak District (£3000)

Membership of professional bodies

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the Countryside Recreation Network
  • Intitutional Member of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom


Undergraduate qualifications

  • BSc (Hons) Ecological Sciences, University of Edinburgh

Postgraduate qualifications

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching, University of Derby

Research qualifications

  • PhD  'Microbial Processes and Heavy Metals in Soils and Sediments', University of Zurich, Switzerland

Additional interests and activities

Latest news

I have recently returned from a trip to the Orkneys where, as well as watching puffins, seals and an abundance of wildlife, I was excited to have found an outcrop of the rare Scottish Primrose 'Primula scotica'. Three flowerheads of this extraordinarily pretty little pink primrose would fit into a 5p piece.

Current Activities / Links with industry

Given my past experience with the National Trust and the Peak District National Park, I have always maintained active links with both organisations. I have also instigated current student projects with the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.


International experience

Switzerland, Germany, Italy

In the media

I contribute to the BBC Radio 4 - Farming Today Programme on issues such as Greenbelt Development.

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