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13th June 2022

Juniper Hall Biology and ESS Field Trip Blog

A group of Biology and ESS pupils are on their field course in the beautiful Box Hill area of Surrey. 

Read the latest updates from the teachers below:-

Day 1 Friday 10 June.

Arrived at FSC Juniper Hall in the beautiful Box Hill area of Surrey. IB6 SL and HL biologists and ESS pupils straight to work with our tutor Daniel.

Day 2 Saturday 11 June. 

Woodland management in the Surrey woodlands.  Methods of random sampling were learnt and data collected, which will be sent to Forestry England.  Dog’s Mercury (pictured) in this SSSI highly abundant, with many tree species, wild strawberry, and the occasional orchid.  We investigated the effect of coppicing, and age-old method of woodland management and production.  This area, complete with a tower ‘folly’ (pictured), overlooks the Juniper Hall estate and afforded magnificent views of the locale, made even more stunning in the glorious sunshine.  Roast chicken for supper!

Day 3 Sunday 12 June

Box Hill – a grassy chalk outcrop with views of England’s largest vineyard in the most wooded county in Britain (Surrey). Pupils learnt their species (salad burnet, buttercup, trefoils) and refined their analysis methods as well as being introduced to the ‘sward quadrat’. Our birder Mr Clint helped us to spot kestrels, a jay, a magpie, white egrets, buzzards and a great spotted woodpecker – referred to as the ‘GSW’ in birder circles! As we laid out our tape measures, bemused locals laid their Sunday morning picnic or walked the dog. Then back to the lab for excel calculations and the delights of the chi-squared test.

Day 4 Monday

First Project day – pilot studies. The effect of trampling / light intensity / depth / aspect / canopy cover on species diversity / leaf length / shell length / mass / internodal length / leaf thickness / rosette width / sward height in Juniper Hall estate / Lodge Hill / Burford Spur analysed with running mean / chi squared / t test / Spearman’s rank correlation! (with some downtime in the glorious weather- see photos!) 

Day 5 Tuesday

Project Day Proper.  Pupils collected data on-site at Juniper Hall, Burford Spur and Lodge Hill.  Majority of the thirty-three different and unique projects focussed on plants and abiotic environmental factors with a small number of projects investigating pond snails and the dog’s mercury flea beetle (the ground was too compacted for earthworms!). Required for ESS and desirable for biology, all investigations contained an ethical or environmental dimension, either of local or national significance.  In the evening, pupils learnt how to quantify their ‘risk assessments’ beginning with an example: ‘assess the likelihood of injury resulting from doing cartwheels on the front lawn of Juniper Hall field centre’.  

Isa, a higher level IB biology student said: ‘I have enjoyed collecting the data outside in the sun as part of my own project and as a group, we have had a lot of fun, especially in the evenings once we finished our work.  I never thought I was going to enjoy practical fieldwork quite so much!’ 


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