A-Level Biology Field Trip to FSC Castle Head, Grange-over-Sands

With the weather forecast predicting hurricanes and torrential rain, we set off on Wednesday morning for the annual Year 13 A-Level Biology Field Trip. Collectively the group seemed to have almost psychic control of the elements though; as whether on the coach or in the classroom, for 3 days straight the weather was at its most brutal however, every time we ventured outdoors the clouds boke and out came the sunglasses. It could not have been scripted better!

The Year 13 Biologists spent a fantastic three days learning about and performing many ecological sampling techniques in wonderfully scenic surroundings of FSC Castle Head in Grange-over-Sands, using their new skills to complete two of the A-Level required practicals.

The techniques they practised included methods of sampling and studying both motile and non-motile organisms. Random sampling using quadrats and grids along with systematic sampling using belt transects were both employed to study the plants and fungi in the grounds around the site. To investigate the nocturnal wildlife, students used electronic bat detectors to listen to the ultrasonic sounds which the bats use to locate their prey in the darkness.

Overnight, small mammal traps were placed by students in locations which they thought maybe home to small rodents (which turned out to be very productive trapping several wood mice and a field vole). Camera traps were also placed in the woodland however, due to the weather, there was no activity caught on these though Mr Crabbe did catch a glimpse of a badger one evening whilst on his nightly patrol. Moth traps were also set and these did provide a good selection of the smaller winged fauna of the region.

Woodlice were also gathered for one of the practicals and were harmlessly marked for later recapture in an attempt to estimate population size. Students also sampled aquatic organisms and were surprised by the diversity of different organisms and how big some of them were!

The students conducted themselves excellently and were brilliant ambassadors for the school, the centre staff commented on the exceptional behaviour and how efficient Wellington pupils were at designing their own investigations and gathering their data.

Next year’s trip is already booked, so watch this space.

Mr Crabbe, Miss Tierney and Dr Glass