Monkeys, Meerkats, Marshes And Marine Research Make For A Marvellous Biology Field Trip
In mid-September 25 Upper Sixth students headed off for four days to a new destination for this year’s Biology Field Trip, the Isle of Wight. For once the weather outlook was promising with glorious sunshine forecast, rather than the rain and wind that has battered so many of our previous outings.
The group’s first stop off the ferry was to Monkey Haven, an Owl and Monkey rescue sanctuary, in Newport, where the students enjoyed learning about ex-situ conservation as well meeting the rascally meerkats.
Their next few days were spent at the Medina Valley Outdoor Education Centre where the students completed two of their required assessed Biology practicals, as well as getting useful hands on experience of real field work. Small mammal traps enabled them to sample the local population of shrews and they were thrown in at the deep end on the first night dissecting owl pellets for skull remains and other bones to identify what the owls had been eating – fascinating but rather smelly!
Practical work was completed on the salt marsh and rocky shores with plenty of time for rock pooling for crabs, starfish and the filter feeders sea squirts.
The return journey was broken up with an informative stop off at Southampton University’s Oceanography Centre. As well as a lecture on climate change and a tour of the laboratories and aquariums the students took a fascinating trip out on the University’s Research Vessel - Callista. Our students carried out five different experiments including tests for abiotic data, and they even deployed the trawler nets to find all sorts of interesting creatures. It was the highlight of the day.
Head of Biology, Faye Roberts, commented, “I was really proud of our students’ enthusiasm and willingness to get stuck into new challenges. They made the most of every experience, learnt a lot and hopefully had some fun too. The sunshine was a fantastic welcome bonus to a very successful trip.”