Notwithstanding the importance of modern technology, fieldwork remains vital, not least through helping to inspire and educate the next generation. Fieldwork has the ingredients of intellectual curiosity, passion, rigour and engagement with the outdoor world – to name just a few. You may be simply noting what you see around you, making detailed records, or carrying out an experiment; all of this and much more amounts to fieldwork. Being curious, you think about the world around you, and through patient observation develop and test ideas. Forty contributors capture the excitement and importance of fieldwork through a wide variety of examples, from urban graffiti to the Great Barrier Reef. Outdoor learning is for life: people have the greatest respect and care for their world when they have first-hand experience of it.