All GCSE and A level girls went to experience some exciting fieldwork at Cranedale. Two A level girls tell us their story...
It is common knowledge that the field trips of your school days are meant to be some of the most unforgettable experiences of your life; after going to Cranedale, I can certainly agree. And it wasn’t merely the food and beautiful accommodation that we will remember fondly.
A calm oasis of biological bliss, Cranedale served as the setting for our first batch of A Level practical tasks. Led by our enthusiastic instructors, we practised using quadrats in a systematic sampling technique, as well as testing soil conditions in two different forest environments so that we could compare them using soil type and the ACFOR abundance scale. It was fascinating to work out in the field doing some real-life ecology.
Set in North Yorkshire, the Cranedale Centre is the perfect location for biological work and research; a rich environment of interesting animal and plant species, it wasn’t difficult to find a few common woodlice for our quantitative biological task. What was difficult, however, was catching them. It was an experience I could only relate to catching a chicken, only harder; and I won’t deny that the odd one or two tried to escape during our experiment, in which we tested whether woodlice were drawn towards the covered or uncovered side of a tray. I’m sure you can guess which they chose.
As well as carrying out our A2 tasks, we did some curriculum specific practical learning. On our arrival night we had the wonderful task of dissecting owl pellets. As unpleasant as it sounds, it was actually really interesting, and the fact that we got to handle and pet a barn owl made everything worthwhile. We spent the rainy day at the beach sampling plants on a sand dune. Learning about new habitats and the fascinating concept of plant succession up the beach, was a useful application of our biology skills.
Not only did we enjoy working and relaxing amongst our fellow class biologists it was a privilege to study under such fervent instructors and teachers, and in an environment that could not have been a better host to our environmental studies. See more photos in the Senior Gallery.
By Imaan Duke and Layla Aboushugor