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Y13 Biology trip to Slapton Field Centre

by Sarah Stevens, Flora Robertson, Alice Sharp and Beth Thuringer

Last week the Year 13 Biologists visited the Field Studies Centre (FSC) in Slapton for a 5 day residential trip packed full of ecology field work in the stunning surroundings of Slapton Woods, the Shingle Ridge and the nature trail surrounding the Ley. Not only was this a great opportunity to put our knowledge into practice, it also allowed us to master five out of the twelve skills needed as part of the practical endorsement for our specification.

 Here are what some students had to say about the activities we completed:

My favourite activity was kick-sampling the freshwater stream in the woods to collect and identify different invertebrates from riffles and pools to see if there was a difference in the biodiversity of these locations. We also measured the different abiotic factors in these locations such as the oxygen concentration and speed of the water flow with specialist meters we don’t have access to at school.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to take what I had learnt last year and apply it to the beautiful surroundings in Devon. My favourite part of the trip was measuring how biodiversity changed from weathered bare rock on the seafront to shrubs and bushes through the process of succession. We also learnt lots of facts throughout the week about the reality of conservation and ecology, something I found fascinating.

 Applying a real-life context to our learning definitely helped me to gain a better understanding of practical techniques we are assessed on. It was great to get outside and experience the environment as opposed to just talking about it, and I loved interpreting our data and considering the biological reasonings behind what we had seen.

 I thoroughly enjoyed walking through the Slapton Ley Nature Reserve with our guide. Here we were taught about the importance of conserving and preserving our precious wildlife, and how we can manage our environment to prevent extinction and the spread of disease. We also learned how to identify the presence of a certain organism, as well as different types of tree.

 A big thank you has to go to our expert guides from the FSC, Debbie and Rosie, for helping us through all the sampling techniques, data collection and statistical tests we completed on the trip. Additionally, this adventure wouldn’t have been possible without the fantastic teachers who organised the trip and put up with all of us for the week - thank you Dr Reynolds, Mrs N and K Cooke, Mrs Illingworth-Law and Mrs Brown!