Academic Enrichment News |

Upper Sixth Biology Trip to Blencathra – 2nd-4th October 2023

05 Oct 2023

By Isabelle H, Year 13

On Monday morning we set off for our bus journey to Blencathra Field Centre. Once we arrived, we had an hour or so to get ready for the afternoon sessions and have our lunch. That afternoon we went over some of the basics such as how to use quadrats of different sizes and using different sampling techniques with equipment that we were new to in order to calculate abundance. Then we sat in the ‘outdoor classroom’ on the hillside and looked out over the beautiful nature and valleys that surround the centre and we selected a specific section of the scenic view and drew a picture with labels of different biological processes that occur and the human impacts on those areas, such as carbon emissions. We also then did our first piece of field work and looked at the effects of grazing on species richness. We worked in groups and used line transects and quadrants in two different areas of the centre in order to gather the results. Finally that day, we moved into our rooms and got settled before finishing the day with a quick classroom session before dinner.

On the second day, we started off with breakfast and making our pack lunches for the day as we were heading out to complete more field work. Firstly, we went to a hill with lots of areas of scree. Once we had all made our way up the hill, we were shown how to use different types of condition readers, such as humidity and ground temperature. We used line transects to see the change in species richness and abundance as we moved across the scree and towards juniper bushes. Once we had collected all our data, we started to make our way down the hill, with some difficulty, and got back onto the bus. Then we moved on to a farm which had a river running through it and had lunch before proceeding with the second piece of research which was comparing species richness in the pool and the riffle. When we returned to the centre after a long day, we had a rest and then concluded the day with a classroom session on statistics preparing us for the final day.

The final day was dedicated solely to the core practical. We split up into groups and chose an investigation to carry out. We looked at things such as the effects of trampling on clover abundance and soil moisture on the abundance of plants. We all worked together to carry out the investigation and then we returned to the classroom to complete the statistical analysis and the write up. We then said our final thanks to the staff at the centre and got on the bus to head home. To top off the trip, we of course had to stop off at McDonald’s on the way home.