22nd - 26th August 2016
Writing: Ed Chaplin (Year 12)
The Young Darwin Scholarship has been an excellent opportunity to get involved in nature and meet new people. On the first day we did a survey to observe the number of earth worms found in different types of soil. After this we were able to get to know each other a bit better over dinner.
The second day saw us walking over the Stiperstones - a rock structure formed over 480 million years ago. We were able to have a private underground tour of the mines where we walked through the network of tunnels to reach the shafts, some of which were over 500m deep. In the evening we set small mammal traps in the local hedgerows and then went badger watching at a local set - some of us were lucky enough to see the badgers, despite the dismal weather!
On the third day we went canoeing on the River Severn - we paddled 10 miles down the river observing aquatic organisms as well as the spread of Himalayan Balsam. It was also a great opportunity to build on the friendships we had already made! After dinner we went to the nearby Venus Pool to do some bird watching, where we were fortunate enough to see a sparrow hawk and a barn owl. On our final full day, we undertook a 'bioblitz' of the local area around Preston Montford - we had the help of local experts in different fields such as bees and insects, soil fauna as well as small mammals. This saw us splitting into small groups with each expert, surveying the site and finding out more information about our chosen areas – we were lucky enough to see a great crested newt which was a rare sighting! On the final evening we had a walk with children from Vision England, a residential programme for children with visual impairments, to understand the natural world from a different perspective.
We then celebrated the week together by playing games and sharing our amazing experiences. Overall the week has been very enjoyable and would be thoroughly recommended to anyone interested in nature, natural history or the outdoors!Find out more about the Young Darwin Scholarship