At the end of the penultimate week of the summer term, Year 12 biologists ventured down to Amersham Field Centre as part of the biodiversity section of the A Level course.

Greeted by cheery custodians, students were first briefed on the curriculum for the day. After a short break, in which phones were all handed in - perhaps wise, as the object of the day was to find invertebrates, not Pokémon - the ‘real’ biology began.

The first areas to be sampled and contrasted were two ponds. One situated in the woods required the more adventurous to pull on waders and plunge in through sheets of algae; the field pond, juxtaposed next to an electrical relay facility, was less hands-on. Using an array of equipment students took biotic (living, in this case invertebrates) and abiotic (non living, such as temperature) samples - although were perhaps most excited to see who could locate the largest newt.

After a bite to eat it was time for the second task: investigating whether biodiversity changes in a trampled area. Literally more down to earth, students this time took transects across a path, counting and identifying (keeping guesswork to a healthy minimum) the plant species there.

After rounding off the day with some maths, students received a summer present of an extended write up of the day’s findings.

All in all, the visit to Mop End was a great success, with students able to experience and practise sampling techniques first hand. Thanks to all the Biology team involved for organising the day.