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The Corporation

Posted: 29/06/11

Botany and biology for students

Academic studies learners at West Nottinghamshire College got close to nature at a local nature reserve today (29 June).

Students from environmental studies and biology A Level courses visited the Ravensdale Local Nature Reserve (RLNR), Mansfield, to receive a guided informative talk about the history of the reserve and the many species of plants and animals which call the reserve their home.

They were able to see the diverse plant life and animal habitats at the nature reserve where many common bird species are present including tawny owl, great-spotted woodpecker, willow warbler and yellowhammer.

The group met with Ray Vesper, guardian of RLNR and professional bee keeper, who lives next to the reserve.  Ray discussed the importance of bees for the environment.  His advice proved invaluable as the students have been working closely on a bee nesting box project at the college’s Derby Road fields recently.

The tour of the RLNR follows on from their visit to the Oaktree Heath Local Nature Reserve last week, where they received a guided walk and talk about the ecology of healthlands and the management of conservation by Ian Major, the community heritage landscape officer for Sherwood Forest Trust.

Tutor Claire Kawamoto said: “Involvement in outdoor activities like this provides the students with hands-on conservation work which complements their classroom theory and really adds value to their studies.

“I’m delighted that these visits to the nature reserves have encouraged some students to work on voluntary conservation projects during the summer.  This kind of experience will be essential for including on their personal statements when applying for university places.”

These students will be returning to the RLNR in September to continue their investigations at A Level by sampling the plant and insect populations of the heathland, grassland and oak woodland communities found in this reserve.

Caption - Ray Vesper (left) shows students Katie Hill, Bronwyn Ward, Scott Thompson and Jack Caldwell see one of the bee hives, watched by Ian Major