Y12 Biology Field Work!
Well, it finally happened. After 2 rain cancellations, Y12 Biology made it out to the Hadfield Clearing for a chance to gather data and earn NCEA level 2 credits. We were working on standard 2.6, which is about patterns in ecological communities.
On the day we met our DOC and Project Janszoon partners at school, then made our way into the Park together. Simon Walls works in DOC's Takaka office and knows a lot about the history and ecology of the area. He brought along his special, extendable tool for helping us measure the height of the tree canopy. You can see him with some of the students and a very tall stick-like tool in some of the photos from the day. Wendy from Project Janszoon pulled out some high-vis vests for us to wear too.
We had a chance to see a totally new area of our section. We did our field work further into the site, past where the planting projects have happened so far. First, we had some morning tea and a health and safety talk before we walked in. The first part of the track was also in a cleared area. Soon we were past the grass and gorse and into the bush. The bush changed as we walked. We stopped and talked about the changes we saw along the way. Simon, Wendy and Mr MacKenzie made sure to point things out to us and answered our questions as we went. For example, some areas had trees, but nothing growing in the middle canopy. The trees and the light were really nice, and we wouldn't have known anything was missing if they hadn't told us. The further we went in, the more dense the plants got. It seemed really healthy and untouched there.
Once we'd walked in a fair distance, we turned around and worked with our groups to choose our sites to gather data. We used tape measures, a temperature gun and gathered soil samples at each site. In total, most groups gathered data at 3 sites, though a few groups had 4.
When we finished, we had some lunch and enjoyed the sun. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect winter's day! Of course no one noticed Simon had left his head lamps on with such a bright day, so we had to unload the mini buses and give him a push to get his truck going again when it was time to leave.
Before we left Hadfield Clearing, the two students on the Student Advisory Board wanted to show us something they'd discovered on another site visit. We went out into the flat area near where Forest & Bird had done a Queen's Birthday weekend planting. This area was pretty boggy and the wet ground made the rest of the ground, and even the trees shake if you jumped on it! We also had a chance to look around a small manuka grove and see how that area is being to get established with new seedlings naturally.
I think we'd all agree that it was a great day in the field. Now we just have to write up all of our data and submit our work for those NCEA credits!