Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Back in the Saddle

The roadies are back! And we start 2015 in a different setting. This time the experience wasn’t as loud or covered in mud as usual! No blue tent, dirty wellies or face painting, but still a great bunch of activities for the 120 year 9 Geography students from Urmston Grammar School to enjoy and learn about Food Security. The day included 5 different activities hosted by Lancaster Environment Centre academics covering different aspects of food security including: a discussion on Famine and Food, mark-release-recapture in population ecology with 'Science Hunters', a discussion on Food waste and food miles, Guerrilla Gardening with a seed bombing workshop and us, ‘Sex and Bugs and Rock 'N Roll'. The visiting students took part in all of these activities in groups of 30 over the course of the day.

We had a great team of BES Roadies from Lancaster University, including the old timers: Catherine, John and Eduardo, and 4 first-timers: Erika, Natalie, Rowan and Benita. The Roadies activity started with Catherine introducing Sex & Bugs & Rock ‘n Roll, with the BES Roadies trailer and setting the atmosphere for a dynamic, informative yet relaxed 30 minutes of good old Ecology and science busks, with the rest of the team waiting at the back of the room, primed and ready for the stampede of 30 students.

Favourites like #poogame rapidly caught the attention of the students. I think they all were amazed on how much information we can gather from staring at animal poo! We also had a stall about the importance of pollinators for food security, and at the same time students could jump across the room to figure out which UK species they are similar to.

Our posters and games on the importance of water and soil for food production stimulated a debate among students and even encouraged the participation of teachers, as they tried to figure out how to complete the puzzle by matching different food items to the amount of water needed to produce them.  It was very exciting to see teachers getting interested and taking part in the process. Several came to us with interesting anecdotes on how they approach these topics in school and even suggested to use the “Smoke on the water” poster in their class.

For us, this was a great way to start 2015. Now it’s time to put the wellies back on and hit the road. Wychwood Festival, here we come!

Post by Eduardo

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