Fun and fierce debate in the forest

QE’s keen young geographers ventured deep into the woods on a field trip that combined fun with the serious purpose of investigating the sustainable use of the forest.

Year 7 and 8 took part in the Geo-explorers extra-curricular activity at Mop End, Amersham, which culminated in a fierce debate about how the forest should best be managed.

The boys investigated animals in their natural habitat and looked at the cost of different types of timber. The data collection involved taking measurements to calculate the height of trees, as well as capturing invertebrates for identification and recording their distribution on tally charts both for deciduous forest and coniferous forest areas.

“This was a highlight, as the boys had to suck small creatures into the storage container using a plastic tube: only one bug was eaten during this tricky process!” says Geography teacher Sarah Gibbons. One boy, Timothy Chan, was heard to say: “I think I just swallowed the centipede.”

During the final debate, the viewpoints of local people, builders, tourists and developers were all considered. The teachers were assigned the role of the builders – prompting Year 8 boy Daniel Fernando and Rahul Sethi, of Year 7, to ask if they could earn a merit by voting for them – but in the end the pupils representing the tourists’ views emerged triumphant.

“Geo-explorers runs two field trips a year and aims to promote geography by giving boys a creative and educational outdoors experience,” said Miss Gibbons.