For most of the rest of the term, the group undertook a review of our local burn using the Scientific Method and the Opal methodology. First they decided what they wanted to study, then we agreed on health and safety rules for operating around the burn. Then we surveyed the burn to determine good entry and exit points for our surveys. Then they carried out the survey, and finally they entered the results onto the Opal database.
The part of the burn we could easily access, is in an urban setting with houses both sides and near a road. It does not support much vegetation compared to some other parts of the burn. So it was pleasing that it still scored in the range of “Quite healthy” and we had some indicators of high quality, particularly as we found another caddis fly larva and the water was very clear and close to neutral PH.
They also carried out a litter survey of the part of the burn they were studying. The rubbish was mainly plastic bags, the worst thing they found was a battery and there was also a broken booze bottle.
One lad who missed the day we carried out the survey due to chickenpox, had wanted to study what affected the water level in the burn. We provided him with materials to make a rain gauge and to carry out height measurements of the burn. His whole family got involved and they not only measured the rainfall and height, but also had a go at the speed of flow. Their results showed how the burn rose and flowed more swiftly after a heavy rainfall and dropped more than half a metre after a period of little rainfall.
Finally, we had a session with our local STEM ambassador on Evolution, and a visitor from the Dee Catchment Area Partnership who helped with a geology session. We also ran a “taster” session for the children who might join the TYS next year.