Students field practical skills on coastline clean-up

University of Wolverhampton students took part in a field-trip to Penrith recently where they put their academic skills to good use.

The first year students studying on the Animal Behaviour and Wildlife Conservation (ABWC) degree course took part in the week-long field-trip to develop their fieldwork skills and experience.

Students can choose from a variety of activities including butterfly surveying, upland bird surveying, freshwater invertebrate sampling and bat acoustics and identification amongst others.

During the field trip, 12 out of the 42 students took part in a strandline survey – investigating activity along the high water mark on the beach on the Cumbrian coast.  The survey was organised in collaboration with the Marine Conservation Society at Grune Point in Skinburness on the Solway Firth, where students collected litter along the 400 metre stretch of coastline.

As well as gaining practical fieldwork skills, students build on their academic skills by writing a scientific report on their findings.

Dr Chris Young, ABWC Course Leader in the Faculty of Science & Engineering at the University of Wolverhampton, said:  The beach clean-up is an excellent example of the applied work we try to get our students involved with across the course. Rather than just learning about things in theory, students also get the opportunity to see them in practice.

“The field-trip offered a great educational experience for students in terms of showing them first-hand the effects of litter on the environment and implications this can have for conservation efforts.”

Kathryn Jones, first year student at the University of Wolverhampton, said:  “The amount of litter we collected was overwhelming.  It was very concerning that the majority we found can directly impact on the wildlife and their survival through ingestion and getting trapped within the fishing material. It highlighted what is being washed up on our beaches and what we need to do to dispose of litter properly. It really opened my eyes.”

The students collected over 1,700 pieces of litter with the vast majority being fishing material such as net, rope and fishing line, followed by sanitary products. There were some surprise items collected too such as a dolls head and a trainer. Overall the litter weighed 26kg.

ENDS

For more information please contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 32 2736 or 01902 518647.

Date Issued: 28th July 2017

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