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The start of the Y13 Biology course was eagerly awaited on a damp Monday morning in September – the Biologists were off to the FSC centre at Rhyd y Creuau in Betws y Coed for three whole days of ecology under the expert guidance of trained teaching staff.
The best way to learn about habitats for this part of the course is to get immersed in the environment, and after a quick change into suitable clothing, students were off to the stream in Coed Hafod to investigate how the distribution of invertebrate species varies in different regions of the stream. Armed with quadrats, nets and buckets, students randomly sampled the stream using the kick-sampling method and also measured the water flow rate.
A new day dawned and Tuesday saw us off to Harlech – the perfect location to study succession amongst the sand dunes. This was a long day in the field, recording data across 20 metres of the dunes along an interrupted belt transect, designed to highlight salient features of the natural processes in the area. Biotic and abiotc data was collected for processing later in the evening.
It’s not all academic study when we’re away - for students who weren’t afraid of the dark, there were evening bat discovery walks to the ‘bouncy bridge’ over the River Conwy. Using bat detectors, students were able to follow the flying mammals as they hunted over the water and surrounding farmland.
The final morning saw the students in the ancient oak woodland investigating the percentage cover of different lichen species on different tree species. Once the identification of different lichen species was mastered, data was quickly recorded for analysis back at school.
All too soon, the minibuses were reloaded and tired but happy Ecologists were heading back to the routine work at Trent. Students enjoyed their experience ‘in the field’ and acquired many practical skills which will help them in their studies this year.