The Countryside !
The Fascinating World Around Us -
An Introduction to British Wildlife and Habitats, for
16 - 22 year olds.
LIST OF ACTIVITIES -
|5. The Wonderful
World of Microhabitats.
|This activity highlights the
incredible complexity of ecosystems which is a result of the innumerable microhabitats
contained within them.
It will investigate the enormous
variety of life to be found in different microhabitats within a woodland, although any
habitat could be looked at, within reason. Woodlands make a good choice because of the
enormous variety of easily accessible microhabitats.
- What are microhabitats?
- How are they different from each other?
- The importance of microclimates.
Look at collembolans in soil, millipedes in leaf litter, slugs on
fungal fruiting bodies, beetle larvae in rotting wood, mites in mosses, mosquito larvae in
tree pools, caterpillars in the tree canopy, leaf miners in leaves, gall wasps in plant
galls and many more besides.
|6. The Amazing
Variety of Life .
|Biodiversity doesn't only exist in rain forests,
Britain has its own fair share. It is all around us if we only know how to look.
- What is biodiversity?
- Why is it important?
- Different types of biodiversity - ecosystem, species and genetic.
- Biodiversity losses in Britain. Biodiversity Action Plans.
A look at the amazing creatures under our noses which we usually
fail to see. This will involve a comparative look at some of the fascinating array of
creatures and plants to be found in our own local habitats, from diatoms to ducks.
|7. Conservation and
management of habitats.
|This activity will look at the practicalities of conservation and management,
with the benefit of the experience gained from restoring the Centre's own habitats.
Topics covered will include:
- The concept of succession and the consequent need for management of
- Species directed or habitat based conservation.
- Human influence on landscapes.
- Management of woodlands,wetlands and heathlands. Students will have
the opportunity to see the highly visual effects of a series of different management
techniques on a regenerating heathland area.
- The practicalities of management - economics, labour, seasonal timing
of operations, individual species considerations, rotation of management techniques within
- Restoration of habitats with particular reference to Rhododendron
habitats and the problems of pollution.
|This activity will look at human influences on freshwater habitats from
pollution, to management for maximum wildlife benefit. The following topics will be
- The important physical and chemical differences between running and
still freshwater habitats, from the point of view of the organisms living in them.
- Different types of pollution.
- Pollution indicators in streams. Students will get the chance to try
their hand at classifying a stream for themselves, using pollution indicators.
- Control of pollutants.
- Management of river banks to minimize agricultural pollution and
Sampling - Comparing and contrasting habitats.
|How do you know what is
there? How do you compare different habitats? What sort of methods would you use to sample
different kinds of animals? Why do we need to sample?
these questions and many more will be answered. The students will practice using various
different techniques and methods of biological sampling. Find out the working
practicalities of each method, rather than the text book version!
Try such techniques as:
- Butterfly transects (dependent on the weather!).
- Line and belt transects for vegetation.
- Kick sampling streams.
- Random pitfall trapping for ground beetles
Students will benefit greatly from the wealth of data and
information freely available on many of the Centre's habitats and species.
|10. Night Field Trips
entirely different perspective on the countryside and view it as few people see it. Visit
the Centre at night when the atmosphere changes completely. Nothing looks the same in the
dark. Creatures that we are often totally unaware even exist, come out of hiding under the
cover of darkness.
Put out the moth trap in different
habitats and see the difference in the variety of insects drawn to the light. Use a bat
detector to track down different kinds of bats. The Centre is an important amphibian
breeding site. Visit in March and see hundreds of Toads and search for palmate newts.
Badger watch in the summer.
These activities will provide innumerable examples of species which
can be used to explain a wide range of environmental principles.