Biology Field Trip to Oxford Island Nature Reserve

On Thursday 28th January, Year 8 had the opportunity to investigate the ecosystem of Lough Neagh as well as discovering the habitats of Oxford Island Nature Reserve. This opportunity complemented their knowledge on Key Stage 3 habitats topic in Biology and further prepared them for their next topic of Variety of Life.The day started with an introduction to the programme, which looked at the ecosystem of Lough Neagh examining the relationships between plants, animals and people who depend on the resources of the area. After learning about the history of Lough Neagh and being tested on their knowledge of habitats and ecosystems, pupils got the opportunity to study the woodland and freshwater habitats in more detail using various sampling techniques such as pitfall traps and pond dipping nets. Here they discovered many organisms such as water boatman, bloodworms and stickleback.After lunch, pupils identified various preserved birds prepared through taxidermy. They then got the opportunity to observe some birds such as moorhens in the area using binoculars. A discussion on habitat management during the observation allowed pupils to gain knowledge on why habitat management is important, particularly for migratory birds. Overall, Year 8 gained an insight on the importance of ecosystems and habitat management. The visit was thoroughly enjoyed by all pupils even when the weather was against them in the afternoon!