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29 September 2017


How to select the right course for you?

There is so much pressure to decide on a career path and many people assume that by studying one course will ensure that they will be guaranteed a job once they complete their studies. This is not always the case. Many people also find themselves beginning a course and not completing it fully, finding they have large education debt and then becoming a bit lost.

This doesn't have to be the case. Here are some recommendations that we often tell our students and prospective students when they are seeking advice on what to study...

1/ Interest Area- Is the area something that you are really interested and passionate about?
Continue reading…


Student Review- Primatology

Kelly Clarke is studying the Primatology course with us and this is her feedback on the course, so far:
Is your work being marked satisfactorily? 
Yes – Sarah always provides positive feedback and helpful comments.

Do you find the course to be a valuable learning experience? Why?
Yes – This was exactly what I wanted to be learning. The course is a very good fit for me. It challenges me and allows me to research things that I am interested in. Going at my own pace (as I do work full time) is great. I am enjoying it a lot.

Are there any areas of your experience you feel could be improved? 
No – am happy with everything.

Overall comments you may wish to make:
Thank you ACS for offering this course. I did research other companies, and believe it or not, there were only 2 that offered this course. I’m pleased I chose ACS. Everything has been very professional from the very first enquiry.

Please rate your ACS study experience out of 10 in the following areas (1 as the lowest and 10 as the highest):
Student Services/Administration: 10/10
Course Structure/Material: 10/10
Academic Officers/Tutor service: 10/10
Overall: 10/10


A Chain of Custody: What is it and why is it vital for environmental testing?

You have no doubt heard about Chain of Custody (COC) issues in the many forensic TV shows on our screens. The shows where faulty documentation destroys an otherwise carefully prepared case and the criminal goes free! So exactly what is a COC? It is the chronological ‘paper’ trail, showing the collection, transfer, receipt, analysis, storage, and disposal of a sample. At all stages, the sample is in someone’s custody—that person is responsible for it.
Keep reading

Learn more about our Environmental Chemistry course


What do editors do?

The scope of editing ranges from self editing, where the writer examines their writing and improves it as best they can, to professional editing, where an expert is employed by a publishing company to improve the quality of a piece of writing prior to publication.

There are many other facets of commercial publishing that require the skills of professional editors. These might include:
- commissioning publications
- reviewing manuscripts
- overseeing manuscripts through the production process
- liaising with writers, publishers, printers and agents

- writing blurbs, captions and press releases
- researching and organising pictures.

In smaller organisations the editor may also be responsible for the design and publication of documents, newsletters, reports, magazines and books using desktop publishing software and equipment.


Take a look at our Editing I course.


Principles for a healthy outdoor space

As well as the principles and patterns put forward by biophilic designers, others have contributed to the field of healthy landscapes by outlining broad principles which can be taken on board by anyone seeking to work in this area.

In their mission statement, the Landscape Institute (LI) in the UK outline five key principles of healthy outdoor spaces, and provide examples of research to support these principles. Their focus is on reducing health problems by increasing publicly available healthy environments. Not only do they suggest that therapeutic gardens be used to help those already afflicted with illness, but building better quality landscapes and green spaces can help minimise rates of illness. As such, the amount of money spent on health care could be reduced and the overall wellbeing of the nation improved. Whilst they don't refer to their policies as biophilic design as such, their focus on improving health through thoughtful design can provide a framework for those interested in the biophilic hypothesis. 

The LI refers to what it calls a 'Settlement Health Map' depicting the relationship between people and the global ecosystem. It demonstrates how health and wellbeing are influenced by their living conditions (lifestyle, community, economy, activities, built environment, natural environment). For example, the local economy and community can affect the choices people make about where they live, work, shop and play. The connections between buildings and natural spaces also affects how people use the landscape e.g. the availability of footpaths or cycling lanes can determine how people move and how much exercise they get when outdoors. They suggest that the environment should be designed to promote human activity and also provide places for passive enjoyment such as relaxation, whilst also highlighting safety, attractiveness and accessibility.

We have a Biophilic Landscaping course to help you learn more. Take a look.


Seed doesn't always just germinate because it is watered

Some seeds do germinate relatively effortlessly, but others have characteristics built into their biology, which make them dormant for one reason or other until certain specific conditions break that dormancy.


1. Physical Dormancy
Seed coats, and sometimes hardened sections of other parts of the seed, become impermeable to water. In nature these hard layers are softened by environmental effects such as freezing and thawing, mechanical abrasion and attack by micro-organisms. This condition is characteristic of many plant families including Fabaceae, Malvaceae, Geraniaceae, Solanaceae.

2. Mechanical Dormancy
Seed covering is too hard to allow embryo to expand when germinating (e.g. in a peach stone).

3. Chemical Dormancy
Chemicals in the seed inhibit germination. This is common with fleshy fruits and berries. Seeds of this type need to be removed from the fruit and washed before sowing.

4. Morphological Dormancy
The seed is not fully developed at the time the fruit ripens. It needs time before it can be sown. Common in the following families: Araliaceae, Ranunculaceae, Ericaceae, Primulaceae, Apiaceae.

5. Internal Dormancy
A number of types of dormancy; where germination is controlled by the internal condition of the seed. The most significant example is moist chilling, where the seed need to go through a period of cold before it will germinate. This is common in the Rosaceae family.

If you are interested in propagating your own plants, we have an introduction to propagation here... Propagation I.


Ebooks for getting productive in your garden this weekend

Here are some ebooks for your gardening inspiration:

What to plant where

Organic Gardening

Growing and Using Camellias

Flowering Bulbs



Animal & Pet Care Course Specials- Last week


Our pet care specials are only available for a few more days- they will end on 30 September.

Take a look here.