Tag Archives: Fieldwork

360° of sky and sea

It’s a great tradition to march a group of students half way along Hurst Spit, come rain or shine. The experience of the wind in your face and trudging through shingle is a memorable one. So much so that the concept of a “depositional feature” or “longshore drift” will hopefully wedge in between those physical memories somewhere. I took the photo above on one such windy day, and if it seems odd, it’s because I used a THETA 360° camera to capture left, right, up, down and behind me. Continue reading 360° of sky and sea

New Forest Trot

Two innovative teachers are running a marathon in every national park! Read about their unique experience and perspective!

The National Park Challenge 2016

Route: Almost circular route from Lyndhurst to Burley, 26.26miles


OK, so our original plan for this marathon did not quite happen as we wanted it but like anything science and outdoorsy, it is all about being flexible! Let me explain….

In addition to our Physics investigations throughout the month, we are also looking into different aspects of how the human body is affected by endurance efforts, including some of the misconceptions out there about how to prepare for such events. One such concept is the use of refined carbohydrates and sugar-based foods as a suitable fuel. A fair number of people asked us about carbo-loading during the weeks leading up to this Challenge and we have even joked about the need for cake to keep us going. Sure, cake is a great treat and since we are burning a significant amount of energy, there is little reason for us not…

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Minibeasts and bughunting

'Bug-napping' - making a pitfall trap
‘Bug-napping’ – making a pitfall trap


Learning to observe and record wildlife is a vital for understanding the natural world and conservation. Wildlife is all around us so it’s important to focus, to start with, on one group of animals or plants, and on a local patch – a garden, school grounds or woodland. For beginner groups invertebrates or ‘minibeasts’ offer many opportunities for study: whether they crawl, creep or buzz they hold endless fascination particularly for young observers. Follow these fieldcraft tips to help develop young enquiring minds. Continue reading Minibeasts and bughunting

Drawing from Nature


Illustration: Winter robin (lino print based on outdoor sketches)
Illustration: Winter Robin (lino print based on outdoor sketches)

The personal benefits we can draw from nature are huge. I find nature itself an endless source of joy and inspiration for my teaching but more importantly in my life itself. Recently whilst quietly observing and sketching a robin that regularly visits my garden I became aware of its large keen eyes, the striking rusty red bib that extends over its face and chest, and its familiar round body shape when it ruffles up its feathers. I was able to express this moment of joy and wonder by using my sketches to design a lino print.

We can all gain inspiration from looking closely at nature – even in the bleak mid-winter.  Drawing outdoors teaches us to be still, to be observant and respectful to living things. You’ll be amazed at how well people can draw when given time and space in nature.  Here are some tips to help you and your group get creative. Continue reading Drawing from Nature

Children discover local WW2 history when evacuated to Testwood Lakes

At Testwood Lakes Nature Reserve in Totton children can see genuine WW2 remains and artefacts and experience what life was like for an evacuee in the New Forest. Oakwood Primary School Year 3 children from Southampton have been studying their local history from the WW2 era this autumn term. To get some real ‘hands-on’ experience they donned 1940s costumes, made gas masks and identity cards and headed for the ‘Testwood Lakes Evacuation Centre’.

Continue reading Children discover local WW2 history when evacuated to Testwood Lakes

The web weavers

Orb web

Nature has many beautiful designs and amongst these the intricate beauty of a spider web glistening with dew in the early morning sun is a visual masterpiece. Late summer and early autumn is the best time to admire and study these amazing web designs as they can be found everywhere – gardens, fields and forests.

Spiders are invertebrates with jointed limbs and belong to the class Arachnida. Continue reading The web weavers

A few words from the wise

Last Saturday we enjoyed a soggy yet inspiring morning of geography fieldwork at Hatchet Pond, with experts on hand to show us the links between the classroom and the workplace.

Hampshire Geographical Association teachers' day Outdoor ClassroomOver 20 staff and committee members from Hampshire Geographical Association were joined by professionals, Dr Naomi Ewald from the Freshwater Habitats Trust and Julie Melin-Stubbs from the New Forest Land Advice Service to discuss and discover the  opportunities offered by research in to diffuse pollution in the New Forest. The day was co-ordinated by education staff from New Forest National Park Authority, and involved a mixture of experts talks, practical surveying and water testing, and a chance to discuss and share ideas of how to use this case study in the classroom. Continue reading A few words from the wise