Biology Trip: Epping Forest

London F25

The word biology itself is derived from Greek words "bios" (life) and "logos" (word, reason, study), so it stands to reason that examining nature and studying life in its natural environment will give us the best understanding of what Biology is actually about. That is exactly what we acquired from our field trip to Epping Forest.

Previously we had studied Biology theoretically in the classroom, but our trip improved our practical skills and enabled us discover what is involved in fieldwork. In fact, there was quite a lot to learn to about investigating different habitats and real-life practice made it much simpler. We learned how to take stratified samples, while working at a pond. I never thought there could be such a variety of living things within a small body of water. Looking at these creatures was fun in itself: everyone was excited by the appearance of the sampled organisms, as if we had found some aliens in our pond! That shows how little attention we really pay to nature in everyday life, taking the environment around us for granted and forgetting how beautiful but cruel, unpredictable but logical, strange but perfect, nature is.

A more complex skill to learn was random sampling, and now we can proudly say that we have acquired it. To be honest, this seemed less interesting compared to the pond sampling, as with random sampling you have to take a lot of samples to be able to generalize results for the whole area. Thus, it was somewhat monotonous, and bracken didn’t seem to amaze students in the same way as the pond environment. However, in the end we drew quite a significant conclusion, relating to the correlation between light intensity and the biodiversity of the area. We felt that had done some real science.

I think the skills, fun and experience we all got from our field trip were well worth the journey and effort involved.

Arsen Korpetayev