Academy for Sustainable Communities

Introduction to Local Ecology

Course Description

This course introduces the basic concepts in ecology, the ecology of Hong Kong and the interrelationships between ecology and other disciplines. The course will further discuss some pressing ecological issues and review the effectiveness of current conservation measures. Practical ecological conservation and assessment methods will be introduced and students will develop basic skills in conducting biodiversity survey through fieldwork.

Assessment and Recognition

Students, who attained attendance rate of not less than 70% and have the course assessment passed, will be awarded a Certificate of Achievement by the Policy for Sustainability Lab. This course is one of the four modules of the “Certificate in Sustainable Communities” programme (QF Level: 3; QR Registration No.: 18/000784/L3; QR Registration Validity Period: From 11 Sep 2018 – on-going). Students who have obtained a Certificate of Achievement in all four modules are eligible for the “Certificate in Sustainable Communities” awarded by the HKU School of Professional and Continuing Education.

Entry Requirements:

(a) have gained in the HKDSE Examination Level 2 in five subjects including Chinese Language and English Language; or
(b) have passed five subjects in HKCEE, including Chinese Language and English Language; or
(c) hold equivalent academic qualifications, taking into consideration individual merit


CEF Reimbursable Course (CEF Course Code: 44Z114583)

Course Title:

Introduction to Local Ecology

Course Code:


Mode of Study:

Part Time

Contact Hours and Study Period:

1-2 sessions per week, a total of 36 contact hours in two months’ time

Teaching Medium:

English, supplemented with Cantonese

Commencement Date:

November 9, 2021

Tuition Fee:

HKD7,980 (expense for site visits is excluded)

Application Deadline:

October 28, 2021

Application Method:

Download and fill in Course Application Form (proof of academic qualification is required) and return to Academy for Sustainable Communities by application deadline


Monday-Friday 9:00am-6:00pm

Tel: 3917-4767

Email: ruralsd@hku.hk

Class Venue:

The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong


Dr. Michael Lau

Course Content and Timetable

(Last Update: September 3, 2021):

Date Contents
November 9, 2021 (Tuesday) 7:00pm-10:00pm Lecture: What is Ecology and why it matters?
November 16, 2021 (Tuesday) 7:00pm-10:00pm Lecture: What shapes Hong Kong ecology and biodiversity
November 20, 2021 (Saturday) 2:00pm-6:00pm Field Trip: Vegetation succession and adapation in Hong Kong: board game and field trip to Lung Fu Shan and Pokfulam
November 23, 2021 (Tuesday) 7:00pm-10:00pm Lecture: Natural and man-modified Ecosystems in Hong Kong
November 27, 2021 (Saturday) 4:00pm-8:00pm Field Trip: Diunal rhythm: day and night-time visit to Lions Nature Education Centre
November 30, 2021 (Tuesday) 7:00pm-10:00pm Lecture: Learning from Nature – Studying Ecology and Biodiversity in Hong Kong
December 4, 2021 (Saturday) 9:30am-3:30pm Field Trip: Case study of wise use of wetlands – field visit to Deep Bay
December 7, 2021 (Tuesday) 7:00pm-10:00pm Lecture: Our role in Local Ecology – threats, conservation, management and sustainability
December 11, 2021 (Saturday) 9:00am-1:00pm Field Trip: Case study of conservation in rural areas – Sha Lo Tung
December 14, 2021 (Tuesday) 7:00pm-10:00pm Presentation: 15 to 20-minute group presentation on environmental/conservation issues
December 18, 2021 (Saturday) 2:00pm-5:00pm Contingency
January 4, 2022 (Tuesday) 7:00pm-8:00pm Examination: 40 multiple-choice examination

Please note:
This course has been included in the list of reimbursable courses under the Continuing Education Fund. The mother course (Certificate in Sustainable Communities) of this module is recognised under the Qualifications Framework (QF Level 3).

Students' Feedback:

“Enhanced my knowledge of ecology and ecotourism in the Hong Kong context.”
“The field trip and post-trip poster presentation were fun
and helpful for us to understand more about the lecture contents.”

Sustainable Communities Fellowship Scheme:

Graduates of the course will be invited to join the Academy’s Fellowship Scheme as Fellows. The Scheme aims to form a network of committed individuals which provide not only continuous support for the members but also a platform for experience sharing in pursuit of community-based sustainability across different disciplines and sectors. Fellows are also eligible to participate in the Sustainability Hackathons and the Rural in Action Start-up Scheme.

Supporting Organisations:


Short Courses
Short Courses

Misinformation Policy Manager, Asia Pacific, Facebook

Jenna is a Product Policy Manager on Facebook’s Misinformation Policy team. She specialises in global health misinformation and misinformation in the Asia-Pacific region, and is based in Singapore.

Product Policy Manager, Inauthentic Behavior, Facebook

Sam Traynor is the Product Policy manager for Inauthentic behavior at Facebook. For almost the last decade he has been working in the integrity space in variety of roles and companies mainly focusing on protecting user voice, the authenticity of conversations, and the integrity of the civic process.

Head of Content Regulation, Asia Pacific, Facebook

Meg Chang is the Content Regulation Policy Lead for Facebook in the APAC region. Prior to this role, she was an Elections Manager and led Facebook’s election integrity efforts across EMEA, including the European Elections, the UK general election, and the Polish parliamentary and presidential elections, among many others. Before Facebook, she was the head of operations and publisher at EUobserver, a Brussels-based EU political and investigative news outlet. She also worked as a management consultant for Global 1000 companies in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. She studied politics and law at the University of Kent in the UK.

Public Policy Research Manager, Data for Good, Facebook

Alex Pompe is a Research Manager on Facebook’s Data for Good team. This team builds privacy-protecting data sets to aid response work for natural disasters and public health crises (here is a recent example from the COVID19 response: https://research.fb.com/blog/2020/06/protecting-privacy-in-facebook-mobility-data-during-the-covid-19-response/). Previously, Alex led the growth team at a startup scaling the company to 35 countries over 3 years. Prior to this he worked on access to information and Internet programs for 6 years at an international NGO called IREX; first in Ukraine, next in Namibia, and then in Washington DC. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching mathematics in Namibia from 2006 to 2008. Alex holds a BS in physics from the University of Illinois, and an MS from the University of Michigan (where he also taught astrophysics.) He has served as a guest lecturer for the University of Maryland’s School of Information.

Public Policy Manager, Hong Kong, Facebook

Head of Privacy and Data Policy, Asia Pacific, Facebook

Raina is the Head of Privacy and Data Policy, Engagement, APAC for Facebook. She is a lawyer by training and is a former regulator, having previously worked at the Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data in the position of Assistant Privacy Commissioner (Legal, Policy & Research). Prior to joining the Hong Kong data protection authority, Raina had extensive legal in-house experience and held management positions in both Hong Kong and Shanghai. She served as the Assistant Chief Counsel – Head of Legal at Hong Kong Disneyland and was the Deputy Chief Counsel – Head of Legal at Shanghai Disney Resort during the initial construction stage of the project when she helped set up the legal function at the Shanghai Disney Resort. Raina held a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) degree from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Assistant Professor, Department of Politics and Public Administration, The University of Hong Kong

Dr. Chan’s primary research concerns the institutions that shape the consumption and distortion of information in different organizational settings. His current research explores how bureaucrats handle information and the impact of institutions on their choices.

Ongoing projects deal with different aspects of bureaucratic control in authoritarian regimes, such as administrative oversight, juridical intervention, internal reporting, and legislative decision-making.

He holds a PhD Degree in Public Policy from the O’Neill School of Public and Environment Affairs and the Department of Political Science, Indiana University Bloomington.

Deputy Director and Principal Lecturer, Centre for Civil Society and Governance

Dr Winnie Law is the Deputy Director and Principal Lecturer at the Centre for Civil Society and Governance of The University of Hong Kong. She teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses on sustainable development, community planning and environmental management. She also works with a team of researchers and conducts policy research, action research and knowledge exchange projects on rural revitalization, social innovation, community engagement and corporate sustainability. Dr Law has been a director of the Conservancy Association since 2005 and has served on a number of HKSAR Government’s advisory committees including Advisory Council for the Environment. At the regional level, Dr Law was commissioned by the EU and UNDP as a planning and social monitoring expert for their city planning and environmental management programmes in Vietnam. Dr Law was one of the invited speakers for the first TedxTongChongSt’s series on Hacking the Future and delivered a talk on Future of Sustainability in 2019.

Director, Centre for Civil Society and Governance

Wai-Fung (Danny) Lam is Director of the Centre for Civil Society and Governance (CCSG), and Professor in Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong. He finished his undergraduate study at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and received a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Indiana University, Bloomington. Professor Lam is an expert in common-pool resource management, institutional policy analysis, public governance, and civil society. His research has focused on the design of efficient institutional arrangements for the governance and management of public resources, a core issue in public administration and sustainable development. Professor Lam has served on the editorial committees of Public Administration Review (PAR), International Review of Administrative Sciences (IRAS), Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis (JCPA), Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly (NVSQ), and Asian Politics and Policy (APP), and is co-editor of The Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Administration (APJPA).

Director of Public Policy, Greater China, Mongolia, and Central Asia, Facebook

George Chen joined Facebook in January 2016 as the company’s first-ever policy representative based in Hong Kong, home for Facebook in the Greater China region. Currently as the Public Policy Director for Greater China, Mongolia, and Central Asia, George serves as Facebook’s “ambassador” to engage with the people and governments across the vast and diverse regions.

Prior to Facebook, George has worked in the media sector for about 15 years. George was a 2014 Yale World Fellow and a 2015 fellow of the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. George is a doctoral candidate at the University of Hong Kong where he focuses his research on freedom of expression and misinformation.