Over the half term break our A level Biology students and teachers travelled to the Snowdonia region in Wales to conduct their biology field trip. From their base camp in a field centre near the village of Betws-y-Coed, they ventured out to conduct a range of biology activities that included;
Setting traps and capturing small mammals to learn the correct methods used by biologists to estimate animal populations.
Sampling slow and fast moving streams for invertebrates, they used statistics to discover the factors that contribute to differences in invertebrate populations.
Visiting a sand dune environment in Harlech, they sampled the plant species growing there and learned how succession occurs across a 500 year period, from bare sand to the first plant colonies (pioneer species) through to forests (climax communities).
Visiting a rocky shore on Anglesey Island they sampled plant and animal species. They analysed how the distribution of plants, animals and algal species change from the beach to the water.
A forest walk, where they compared lichen and moss species growing on oak, mountain ash and birch trees, and studied examples of coppiced trees.
Student Erica summed up her experiences; ‘I had a chance to explore one of the prettiest parts of Wales during my half term. I learnt a lot of fieldwork, and got to know and became closer to my friends’.
In addition to their fieldwork, the students also got to try out some fun and challenging activities that included gorge scrambling and walking up in some stunning mountain scenery to the glacial Lake Idwal. Biology teacher Sephora Xuereb thought that they got a lot out of their gorge scrambling experience in particular; ‘The students helped each other climb up the gorge.
It was a fantastic team building exercise and it was lovely to watch them form new friendships based on trust and empathy’.
Student Uche enjoyed the trip, saying; ‘The activities were very challenging, so I always felt a sense of achievement on completing each one. The weather was also a lot better than I thought it would be!”
Our biology field trip is designed to give our students a deeper understanding of ecology in context. Students also completed an ecology controlled assessment that contributes towards their final A level mark.