Just before half term our Year 7s embarked on a biology field trip to study the unique ecosystems of Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve. They worked alongside ecologists using sampling techniques, pond dipping and transect surveys to assess the habitat for future development.
The sun shone and the students were able to see a huge plethora of wildlife on our doorstep. The students were very enthusiastic in the hide where they were able to observe the local bird of prey, marsh harriers, in their natural feeding grounds.
Here’s what Jessica, a student from Year 7 who attended the trip had to say about the visit:
“On the 22nd of May year 7 ventured to Leighton Moss for our science trip on Interdependence and Eco- systems. As soon as we got there, we were spilt of into different groups and were told about a scenario where we were to investigate four different habitats. The scenario we were given was that Leighton Moss wanted to build a hide (small wooden hut) in one of their habitats and we had to debate after investigating all the habitats which would give the least interference or least damage to the plants and animals that lived there. The first habitat our group went to was the peaceful woodland habitat. Our first task was to understand the contrast in invertebrate species and population when we measured in the shade and sunlight. We got to work immediately using quadrants, transit lines (which we had used previously in Miss Dahiwala’s lessons) and devices where we could measure moisture, temperature and sunlight! Many groups found slugs, ants and even centipedes!
After that, we went to the reed bed habitat where we were also recording the difference in height if the reeds were in or out of the sunlight. We used measuring sticks and light measuring devices and in most cases we found that the reed with the most sunlight grew slightly higher than the ones with lack of sunlight.
The next habitat we went to was probably one of our group’s favourite, the pond habitat. We did pond dipping where we used a net, identification chart, tray and star pot (to retain our best findings) to collect pond creatures and study them. We used a bobbing technique around the reeds and weeds with our nets to collect the animals from the different zones in the pond habitat. We found leeches, pond snails, mayfly nymph, water boatman, tadpoles and water mites, we even saw a family of mallards swimming! After we had caught our creatures we sat down and created some food chains out of the animals we saw. We talked about primary consumers, secondary consumers and tertiary consumers and talked about herbivore, omnivore and carnivore niches in the habitat. One of the food chains we came up with was: the sun, the reed, water mite, tadpole and mallard.
After that we all had lunch and completed the essential trip to the gift shop. Then we set out again to visit our final habitat. Our last habitat was my personal favourite – the wetland.
We were all given some binoculars and a sheet which prompted us to identify the bird variety and tally it down. We worked in Lillian’s hide and had a fantastic view of the birds’ nests. We saw white-headed gulls, coots and a visitor also bird watching next to us showed us a wigeon. Next, we had our debate and each small group would come up with important factors and points to save the habitat they were randomly appointed. After everyone had spoken, we all voted for which habitat we would put the hide in and in the end, we wanted the hide in the wet land as it was the biggest habitat area at Leighton Moss and it would disturb the wildlife the least.
As we clambered back on the coach, we said our goodbyes and set back off to AKS after an enjoyable and educational trip we’ll remember for a long time to come”.