July 14th / Last week our Y12 Biology Students took part in an A2 Ecology field trip to Rhyd y creuau Drapers’ Field Centre in Snowdonia. Here are a few pictures followed by two reports from those involved.
Ciara Condon and Natalie Case
The centre itself was around a half an hour walk away from the secluded town of Betws-y-coed. It was a very picturesque centre which had all the amenities needed for our stay. The rooms were shared by two, three or four people and contained bunk beds, shelves and a sink. Some rooms were en suite, but most people had to use the communal showers; these showers were always clean and each shower was contained within its own cubicle.
Each evening hot meals were provided in the dining hall. The times for each school were staggered by 15 minutes which meant that there were smaller queues. Every night there was a choice between three meals, one of which was always vegetarian. The meals were always hot and tasted good, whichever option you had. You then had the option of pudding which was usually a form of cake. Throughout the day tea, coffee and squashes were readily available at your convenience and these could be taken all over the centre as long as cups were returned. As well as this, the centre provided cake at around 4pm which gave a welcome relief from the work. At breakfast you had the option between a cooked breakfast, cereals or toast and you were always able to help yourself to more. At breakfast, there were also stations to make yourself a packed lunch for the day ahead.
During any free time, there were many options of activities that were provided by the centre. This included a games room, a TV room, a lounge and outdoor areas. Other equipment could also be hired from the centre using a deposit system, which included items such as table tennis bats and musical instruments. These deposits were never above £5.
You always felt safe at the centre as you would always see staff member wandering around. To get into bedrooms, you needed to entre a code and most rooms also contained safes. If you ever had a problem, there would be a duty member of staff. They were normally easy to find, or you could use the phone outside of the staff room to contact them.
Mr Downes (Head of Biology)
On their first day, the students undertook an investigation to examine the effect of abiotic factors on invertebrate distribution within a local stream. The density of invertebrates were sampled using kick sampling, and in addition to this abiotic factors such as velocity were measured.
The group went on to conduct a variety of data-analysing procedures in Coed Hafod, a nearby Ancient oak woodland. All of the data collected from both sites were brought back to the lab for statistical analyses.
On the final day, an investigation of primary succession of plant communities (pioneer to climax) across a developing dune system at Morfa Harlech National Nature Reserve was undertaken.
The students also collected biotic data along a belt transect, using point quadrats, to assess the distribution of plant communities in relation to soil and other environmental gradients allowed for a more comprehensive analysis to be made back at the field centre.
Experience is the best education, and it was all too apparent from this field trip that when the students actually apply their knowledge in a setting outside of school, these experiences strengthen the learning experience. The specific tasks undertaken in Wales certainly strengthened our students’ skills by providing a hands-on learning experience, whilst also providing a lifelong memory.