ERS225 - Field Methods

Update to ERS225 due to COVID-19 - 3rd July 2020

Due to COVID-19 it is no longer possible to run ERS225 as a week long fieldtrip in late August, as described below. Our current plan is to run the course as a series of labs based on campus (but generally outside of lab or lecture space) to teach the critical field skills needed for Earth Science fieldwork. We plan to follow these labs up with a series of 1-day fieldtrips around Ontario to utilize and practice these skills on rock outcrops. The number of trips as well as the dates of those trips are not yet confirmed (although they would be taking place on either Saturdays or Sundays in late September and / or early October. We are working on a plan about how to manage these trips in line with UTM and Provincial guidelines surrounding social distancing.

As a result of the changes to the course, the fees associated with the fieldtrip will no longer be as stated below. We will update this page when we have an idea of how much the new method of running the course will cost, and when those fees will be due by. If you are interested in the course, please still fill out the forms at the bottom of the page and send them to Debora Rios (

ERS225 - Field Methods

ERS225 is designed for students entering the Earth Science program, with little to no experience of fieldwork. We will be visiting the area surrounding Halliburton, and studying the outcrops of the Canadian Shield, Grenville Belt and the Palaeozoic sediments of Southern Ontario. The coursework will be complete by October, and the course has no exams.

To be eligible for ERS225, you need to:

  • Have finished your first year at UTM.
  • Have completed ERS101 (Planet Earth) or ERS111 (Earth, Climate and Life) or ENV100 (The Environment).
  • Be enrolled as an Earth Science Specialist, Major or Minor. Other programs, such as Paleontology Major or Environmental Sciences may also enroll in the course, but priority will be given to those in Earth Science programs.
  • Be able to attend the entire trip, and be physically able to walk long distances over uneven ground.

You do not need any previous field trip experience. The preliminary dates for the 2020 ERS225 trip are currently late September and / or early October. These dates may change, and you should not plan any activities in the 2 days preceding or after the trip in case these dates changed. The dates will be confirmed later in the summer.

Required / Recommended Equipment

You will need to bring these things with you. Equipment in bold is required – if you do not have this at the start of the trip, you may not be allowed on the trip. If you do not have them – borrow, rent, or buy them:

  • Boots with ankle protection (i.e. a boot, not a shoe). You will be walking considerable distances over the course of the trip, so you will want lightweight, comfortable walking boots. Ankle protection is required – in the event that you trip or fall, ankle protection will stop you from breaking your ankle. Steel caps are not required. Buy the best boots you can afford.
  • A waterproof jacket (+/- rain pants). In the event of wet weather, we will still go out in the field. A waterproof jacket made of good quality material (such as Gore-tex or similar) will keep you dry, but will allow your skin to breathe, which will make you more comfortable when the temperature is still warm.
  • Outdoor clothes for sunny and hot weather (think ~30oC).
  • Water bottles that can hold at least 2 liters – reuse a plastic water/soda/pop bottle if needed.
  • Sun protection and bug repellent – we will be out in the field during the day, and having adequate sun protection (a wide brimmed hat and sun cream are a must). In addition, there will likely be bugs (mosquitos, black fly and deer fly) at the outcrops. Bug repellent (with Deet or equivalent) will be very useful in maintaining your sanity if surrounded by bugs. You may also consider buying a bug head net to protect your face. Bug repellent, when applied to your legs or pants will also help to prevent ticks, which may be present in the areas we visit.
  • A day pack which can hold your rain jacket (and rain pants), warm layers, water, and lunch. This does not need to be fancy, but it does need to be comfortable as you will be wearing it ALL day. If it doesn’t come with a rain cover, then consider placing a large plastic bag or a garbage bag inside your day pack to ensure your belongings stay dry.
  • Casual clothes for around camp. It is advisable to bring a sufficient supply of clothes for the duration of the camp, as we cannot guarantee that the facilities will be working and able to be used. There will always be the opportunity to wash clothes via a sink if full laundry facilities are not available.
  • Toiletries and towel.
  • Stationary equipment:
    • Pencil for making notes in the field. A mechanical pencil is best – it never needs to be sharpened, and produces a thin line which is great for drawing and sketching. Spare leads should also be purchased.
    • Coloured pencils (+ sharpener)
    • Eraser
    • Ruler
    • Protractor
    • A thin black and red ink pen.

We will provide you with the necessary geological field gear – notebooks, geological compass, hammer (when required) and hand lens.

Cost for trip

The cost for the trip, on top of tuition, is TBD which must be paid upon enrollment to the course, by cash and given to Debora Rios (; DV2056). This covers the accommodation (if applicable) and transport for the entire trip. However, you will need to arrange you own food (if applicable) for the trip. We will stop at supermarkets throughout the trip for you to purchase the food you will need. Since UTM is currently closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the deadline to receive money will be later than the deadline for forms (see below). It is more important to get your forms in than to pay for the costs of the trip.

Forms required

You will need to fill out the following forms:

These should be filled out and returned to Debora Rios ( as soon as possible (deadline is TBD). Please make sure that you clearly label your forms as “ERS225” so they do not get mixed up with the other field courses we run.