This month, Year 4 set off for the Bushy Park Stockyard. When we arrived, Jo, the Chief Educator, talked us through the work that we would be doing at the ponds. She told us that we would be making sure they were healthy by testing how clear the water was and pond dipping. This data would then go on to a national database. We were going to do an OPAL survey. Next, we got into groups and went to one of the ponds. The other pond, in which there were tadpoles, was called the South pond. When we got there, we had to fill in a sheet to include the date and time, and a few other questions. We also made sure there was no pollution before testing how clear the water was. This was done by taking some water from the pond and pouring it into a water bottle with a circular piece of card at the bottom of it. This piece of card had twelve OPAL logos around the edge, some faint and some dark. We then looked into the bottle. We saw all of the logos, so the pond water was as clear as possible.
After that, the pond dipping began! We took it in turns to have a go, slowly driving our nets through the water, lifting them out, and pouring the contents out into a tray. After a while, we had caught thirteen three-tailed damselfly larvae, a variety of snails, a lot of minute water fleas, two grumpy backswimmers, a few freshwater shrimps and a magnificent dragonfly larva. Of course, we found much, much more…
After lunch, Jo took us down by the woods. She had just told us about what we were going to be doing in there, when we came across a surprisingly small frog. When everyone had finished gawping at it, we all went into the woods. We started with bush-bashing. This activity is fairly simple (if you have strong arms). All you have to do is place a large piece of cloth under a bush and shake the branches, so minibeasts fall on to the cloth. Next, we some did log-turning. This is done by turning up a log and investigating the animals under it. We found a newt and a beetle larva.
We then did some “woolly worm” hunting in the field before getting onto the minibus. Sadly, it was the end of the trip.
Overall, I think the trip was exciting and I learnt a lot.
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