Ecology trip to Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre on Friday March 3rd 2017

Pic 10Despite extremely poor weather conditions (torrential rain and temperature of 5C) a brave group of students from the Leaving Certificate 6th year Biology class and the Junior Certificate 3rd year  Science class travelled to Tralee for their Ecology Field Trip under the watchful eye of Ms Bríd O’Connor and Ann Marie Keniry who is as always an incredible support to all of our students. Thanks Ann Marie.

Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre was the venue for the day’s activities with Mr David McCormick leading the activities and ‘wetland’ was certainly the keyword of the day.  Experiential learning was the central  methodology of the workshop for the day.

Our leaving certificate biology students are as follows: Nicole Walsh, Yvonne Brady, Ebley Bruton Nash, Mark Hegarty Quinn and Tommy Smith.  Our junior certificate science students who attended are Clarice Fitzgerald, Missie Purcell, Trevor O’Sullivan, Aivo Plenkovs, and Ciarán McCarthy. 

Our students were hardly recognisable with the layers of warm clothing and rain gear not to mention the wellies which probably got their first wear for many of our students. Ciarán bought a new pair for the event.  Nicole brought along her cute pink ones for an outing. The eagerness and enthusiasm shown by our students to do their ecology activities whilst sloshing around in 6-8 inches of mucky surface water, among the reeds and the rushes reinforces the high regard I have already for this group of students. Their high level of engagement in all the activities of the day is a credit to themselves, their families and of course to Terence MacSwiney Community College.

Summary of the activities of the day:

  • Introduction of Ecological principles and techniques.
  • Qualitative and quantitative study of the marsh in the Wetlands Centre, using the line transect and quadrat.
  • Adaptations of plants living in the marsh.
  • Examination and identification of a wide range of plants and animals living in the wetlands habitat using keys.
  • A study of the ‘abiotic’ non-living factors affecting life in the habitat including temperature, soil pH and salinity.

 Examining the contents of the Longworth small mammal trap was certainly the highlight of the day with our students getting an opportunity to get up close and personal with one of Ireland’s smaller mammals, the field mouse.  Some fabulous photo opportunities were captured throughout the day.

While the main purpose of the day was the hands on experience gained by the students in all aspects of ecology fieldwork, the activities of the day have certainly been of immense support to their preparations for their upcoming Leaving and Junior Certificate Exams in June.  We wish to express our thanks to David McCormick, his assistant Saidbh and all the catering staff of Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre for such a memorable day and for looking after us so well. 

Brid O’Connor