The Countryside !
The Fascinating World Around Us -
An Introduction to British Wildlife and Habitats, for
16 - 22 year olds.
LIST OF ACTIVITIES
The list below outlines each of the 10
activities currently on offer.
Please note that we are very flexible at the Woodland
Each activity is designed to last a full day, but can
be scaled down to half a day. In addition, you can mix and match topics from
different activities to cover your individual needs. All you need to do is ask. In
addition, if you have particular requirements which are not met by any of the activities
offered, then contact the Centre and we will be happy to discuss developing an activity to
suit your needs.
Staff from the Centre can also come to you at your
location to lead the activities, provided you have suitable habitats locally. If this is
not feasible, the factual content of the activities can also be delivered as a talk,
rather than as a practical activity. There is no charge for this service.
Contact details for The
Woodland Education Centre.
Each activity comprises:
a short general introduction to the topic involved.
a guided interactive tour of selected habitats.
a practical group activity for the students which
clearly illustrates the basic points covered.
follow-up work, with an 'Offwell Web Quest' where relevant.
preliminary work may be suggested for some of the
List of Activities
|Why is this place as it is?
In any particular
place, there are clues all around us which give us subtle information about the area. All
that is required is keen observation and the ability to fit together often disparate
pieces of information.
- Spot a particular kind of plant and it may tell you something about
the geology of the area, or about the kind of butterflies and invertebrates you are likely
- Finding fossils will tell you something about where the area was
located millions of years ago.
- Knowledge of prevailing local weather conditions and observations on
the relief of an area may give you a good idea of what the microclimate is like.
- This in turn will give some idea of what species are likely be found
- Animal tracks, rubbed tree bark, chewed hazelnuts and piles of
discarded feathers all give clues to some of the animals living in the area, even if they
are not immediately visible.
- Past uses of the area may be indicated by features such as old hedge
banks, or old burial mounds.
Put all the clues together and suddenly you have a very good
understanding and feeling for the area.
Test your practical observation skills. Put them together with
information from a wide range of subjects such as British history, geography, geology,
biology and ecology and learn to interpret the landscape.
This activity is not site specific and can be carried out anywhere.
|2. Habitats - What's in an address?
|Work out the following key
points by comparing three very different, but equally fascinating habitats.
- What makes habitats different from each other?
- What are the key factors involved in determining habitat type?
- What characteristics do particular habitats have? What species would
you expect to find there and how do they interact?
These points will all be looked at in detail, using practical
observations to compare a woodland, a wetland and a heathland habitat. There will be
many examples of wonderfully adapted organisms to study along the way.
|3. Woodlands are more
than just trees.
|This activity will look at different types of woodlands
and at all the many extremely varied habitats within them.
Find such unexpected creatures as pseudoscorpions on the woodland floor. Look
at the extraordinary diversity of invertebrate life living in rotting wood, or in all the
different mosses and lichens clothing tree bark. Search out an amazing variety of fungi of
different colours and forms.
The activity will cover topics such as:
- Layers within a woodland.
- The contrasts between broadleaf and coniferous woodlands.
- Broadleaf woodlands - Oak, Beech, mixed, Alder Carr.
- Ancient woodlands - ancient woodland plant indicator species.
- Coniferous woodland - forestry or natural?
- Forestry - The effects on the habitat of the tree species used, the
age of the crop, planting density and thinning.
- Woodland Management. Coppicing, rides, glades.
By the end of the activity, students will have looked at a variety
of woodlands in great detail.
|4. Wetlands - a
diversity of plants and animals.
|Wetlands provide an endlessly fascinating background for general
The following topics will all be
- The different tolerances of aquatic plants to life in water.
- The resulting transitions of plant type within a wetland from open
water, through swamp, marsh and drier land to Alder carr woodland.
- Adaptations of aquatic plants and animals.
- Succession and colonization in aquatic habitats.
- Niches and microhabitats. What lives on the willows, in the mosses,
on the water surface, in the small pools?
- How do you manage wetlands? What factors need to be considered?