The Year 11 Geography students who are keen to be part of the NEW ambassadors’ scheme for Geography participated in a volunteering visit to Foots Cray Meadows on the 5th November with Thames21. This trip embraced a new member of volunteering scheme and an honouree Geography student Nikola who now has completed 10 hours. Nikola is a hard-working and dedicated member of the volunteering initiative who has excelled in her first two trips to the meadows (seen bottom right). For others it was the first time volunteering in the local community, such as Gareth (far left) and James (second left). Where will St Paul’s opportunities take you?
The first task of the day was to replenish the supply of willow from trees alongside the river to use in the creation of river walls to minimise erosion. This involved the use of saws and bill hooks to cut the tree at the base of the branches but with enough space for regrowth. For many of the students this was the first time that they had experienced willow coppicing and they learnt about the ecology of the plants whilst working with Thames21 staff. Year 11 got to branch out their skills from this excursion- excuse the pun and poor attempt at humour!
|Gareth tree coppicing.|
As you can see from the picture below, the students worked hard to generate enough resources for the next task. Unfortunately this meant transporting the willow sticks 2 miles to the other end of the stream.
The second part of the day the students use the waders to start to build the willow river wall. The reason for this activity was to minimise the force of hydraulic action on the river cliffs at the side of the river. Much of this part of the bank had been eroded by the force of the river and accelerated by dog walkers allowing their pets to enter the river. In combination this had created footpath and river cliff erosion. This was particularly useful for the students as they were able to witness ‘Geography in reality’ from theory learnt about Rivers in the classroom.
The Year 11 students split into different teams – one group in charge of creating a new soil layer to replace the eroded material with soil and river pebbles and the other to build the wall. You can witness the extent of the erosion of the bank in the picture above.
As you can bear witness to below, the Year 11 students have taken ownership of the River Cray and personally reduced the erosion along this stretch of water. Another incredible achievement by St Paul’s students and in particular representing the SPA Geography department as assets to the local community. This was commented upon by various members of the public. Even Michael made a cameo appearance and worked as hard as he usually does :OD
Check out the school website and Geography blog for all the latest articles and pictures- including ways to participate in the NEW ambassadors’ scheme. COMING SOON!