First Year Environmental Science – First Science Project

First year BSc Environmental Science (and Countryside Management) students get to  carry out their first investigative project at Belford Burn, Northumberland using the field skills they have been learning. I love it, because they have to do all the work – the questioning, the thinking, the risk assessment, equipment lists, the printing… I just get to ask questions like, “why do you think that is important?” and “how do you think you will measure that?” and “how will you decide where will you sample”?

Some of the projects are illustrated below:

Measuring water flow – comparing to different techniques (flow meter and ping pong ball) to see how water flow changes down stream

Comparing floral diversity with arthropod diversity in woodland, heathland and arable habitats

Using aquatic invertebrates and a field nitrate colorimeter to assess pollution –  from the source of the river in the hills, through grassland, arable and urban habitats

Verdict: the students are better at remembering equipment than I am ; next year we want more rain before we go; sheep aren’t as scary as some London born and bred students might have previously thought; mistakes were made and learned from; we all had a brilliant time.

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