Four days and Five Different Outdoor Classrooms – Biology Fieldtrip 2014

After only two days of the new term the Upper Sixth Biologists loaded their walking boots, wellingtons and outdoor gear into a coach and set off to North Wales. By the evening they had settled into their rooms, eaten well and set small mammal traps to estimate the population of mice and voles around the field centre.

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The sun shone as the girls completed three studies of lichens, mosses and holly leaf miners in ancient woodland the following day interspersed by bilberry picking sessions and a bare foot walk through a sphagnum bog.

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For a complete change of habitats we travelled to the extensive sand dune system at Harlech to study succession and to investigate the relationship between the plant diversity and the changing abiotic conditions the next day.

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Our penultimate day was a long one, first walking up to a mountain oligotrophic lake โ€“ Cym Idwal at the base of Y Garn and Tryfan, to observe the effects of different management of uplands and a second barefoot walk through another bog.

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Later that day we continued our journey across to Anglesey to study the ecology of a rocky shore at Penmon. Here we were lucky enough to be entertained by a pod of beach porpoises whilst collecting samples.

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Our final day was spent in the river Conwy sampling the invertebrate population and investigating possible correlations between this and several different abiotic factors. The girls were so lucky to see these diverse habitats in the glorious sunshine when they were at their absolute best. The field studies centre at Rhyd y Creuau provided us with exceptional food and the tuition by Peter Kay was, as always, excellent.

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This field trip provided the girls with all the practical skills and an understanding of the complex relationships between biotic and abiotic factors within ecosystems that they will need for BIOL4.

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My thanks as always go to Mrs Smith for accompanying us and to the girls for their good humour, great company and endless fascination with the world around us.
Dr Sue Madden, Head of Biology