Practically all of the course activities provide a fairly accurate introduction to what it’s like to work as a biologist conducting ecological research. The most distinctive part is probably the intellectual capital the participants develop. One student describes their fond memories of the course benefits: “A new environment, new friends, a daily dose of new knowledge. Even the birdwatching trips with their early starts that I bemoaned at the time were brilliant experiences and among the best demonstrations during the biotope course.” The courses are also genuinely useful: “I have to say you shouldn’t underestimate the significance of the Lammi courses for your future. My research period in the insect group taught me many things I still rely on today. The course didn’t make me an entomologist, but it helped, that’s for sure.”
The Lammi courses mark the end of the first year of study: winter (and the Shokkelo event) is over, and then along comes this chance to put theory into practice. Having sat in the same lecture rooms and labs all academic year, the group is suddenly running across fields looking for butterflies. A summer spent in the field makes biology students feel like a tight-knit community.
Legend has it that field course participants used to sleep in tents and travelled to sites by bicycle. Not a bad idea even today. Whether staying in tents or not, a field course is a bit like a summer camp for kids: an appropriate mix of time out in nature, interesting activities, friends, and plenty of food.