The Lower Sixth Biology students went on a trip to Wakehurst Botanical Gardens (sometimes referred to as Kew’s countryside cousin) just before half term to learn more about biodiversity and conservation.
Wakehurst, based in Sussex, is home to the Millennium Seed Bank, which holds the impressive title of being the most biodiverse place on the planet thanks to the 2,456,532,314 seeds that are stored there. This represents over 40,000 species from 190 countries and is a global insurance policy to conserve seeds from common, rare or endangered useful plants.
Students were able to glimpse the huge collection through heavy glass doors as they are stored in state-of-the-art deep freeze chambers at -20°C, which are flood, bomb and radiation proof.
Back out in the sunshine, students also undertook a conservation walk through the stunning botanical gardens and carried out random quadrat sampling to compare the species richness in coppiced and un-coppiced woodland.
Lower Sixth Biologist Kayla says, “My highlights of the Wakehurst trip were walking through the beautiful forests and meadows in the warm May sun, and the activity where we had to measure biodiversity in two different areas.
“We had learnt the theory of the sampling methods in class prior to the trip, so it was really helpful to put them into practice. Being able to get a visual and practical representation of how it worked, helped us to understand it further. It was also really nice to get out of the classroom for the day and be in the sun!”
Kew Gardens and Wakehurst aim to help people understand and protect plants and fungi, for the wellbeing of people and the future of all life on Earth. Their main aims are to deliver science-based knowledge and solutions to protect biodiversity and use natural resources sustainably; inspire people to protect the natural world; and train the next generation of experts.
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