Great Ballard pupils’ science field trip to the RSPB Reserve at Pulborough Brooks

July 18, 2017

Form 5 pupils from Great Ballard School had an exciting day at the RSPB Reserve at Pulborough Brooks with the Education Officer and volunteers, where they had an opportunity to carry out practical field work.

This involved pond dipping, the use of sweep nets, data loggers, viewers, and identification sheets to examine a diverse and extensive variety of plants, insects, amphibians and reptiles in a variety of different habitats. It was very hands on and the children learned how to identify key features of these organisms and also their adaptations linking them to the habitats that they live in. All these activities are a valid part of the National Curriculum and really bring Biology to life.

The RSPB Pulborough Brooks reserve is very special within the South Downs National Park as it has a variety of different habitats all very close together. As well as the pond habitat, there is woodland, ancient meadow and heathland.

Our pupils studied each of these in turn, took temperature readings and studied a number of different organisms, as well as studied a variety of Flora and Fauna that they found in each environment. They were looking  to see how all the organisms adapted to the special conditions that made each habitat unique.

Among the highlights of the day was the capture of a pair of Great Crested Newts! These creatures are extremely rare and are protected. The animals were handles very carefully before being released by the Education Officer. Another highlight came towards the end of the day, when the children saw some slow worms, which look like snakes, but are in fact lizards, and the only venomous snake in the wild in the UK – the Adder.

The children were very enthusiastic  – as well as leaning about the wildlife and their adaptations, they also learned about the threats to habitats and something of the work that the RSPB undertakes to ensure that these special places are preserved for all wildlife and for us to enjoy.

Since returning to school they have spent a lot of their play time in the grounds catching grass hoppers and other insects that they have then shown proudly to Mrs Woollven before safely letting them go! This has really captured their imagination and love of science.