We completed this year's surveys of The Quantock's Atlantic Rainforests today, with the children of Year 5/6 conducting their fieldwork amongst the stunted oaks of the Lords & Ladies, below Dead Woman's Ditch.
Fieldwork at our first site yesterday was a fascinating learning process for the children as many of them were using quadrats, hand lenses and canopy scopes for the first time. They took time and a fair amount of support to work their way through the fieldwork exercises, gathering good data.
Today, as seasoned hands, they conducted their fieldwork independently and efficiently, and were an inspiration to observe. Their practical skills as scientists have leapt forward, along with their ability to articulate their findings and their postulates. They were very quickly able to describe differences between the two woodlands that we studied by referring to their observations on the diversity of species, light levels, age of trees, and the availability of water.
The children were exemplary today and well deserved a wonderful walk down the combe, a good play in the woods and stream, and even a session of 'Bishy Bashy' art to round it off! Some of them revealed an heroic side today, rescuing a friend from near certain double 'Welly-Loss' in a patch of particularly hideous bog!
Thank you to Debbie, Keziah, Richard and Ollie who have all given their time freely over these past two days and without whom we wouldn't have been able to safely take to the hills. Learning Outside the Classroom requires extra time and support to deliver but has such powerful, lasting impact.
Finally, thank you to Dr Alison Smith, who gave us an outstanding masterclass in how to conduct scientific fieldwork, as well as a wealth of knowledge about the species of The Quantocks. Priceless.