College students return from the land of lemurs
STUDENTS from Strode College in Street returned from a two-week field trip in Madagascar, where they got up close to lemurs and enjoyed finding out about the wildlife and culture of the country.
The students enjoyed trekking through national parks and rainforests to seek out the lemurs.
Strode student Olivia Shoemark said: "The trip proved to be far more educational than I imagined.
"It encouraged us to think about the biology behind rainforest life and to put theory into context.
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"We could have learnt this in the classroom, but learning through first-hand experience is so much more valuable."
The students also encountered a wealth of other wildlife including snakes, ants, chameleons, crocodiles, tomato frogs, leaf-tailed geckos and a family of tenrecs, which look like a hedgehog crossed with a guinea pig.
Students also visited rice paddies, a spice garden and they saw locals farming with bullocks and hand ploughs, in stark contrast to the mechanised farming that students associate with Somerset.
They met students and teachers at a high school and they also met a group of French medical volunteers who were giving health treatment to villagers – the queue for treatment stretched for over 50 metres.
The visit ended with a trip to the small island of St Marie where the students scuba dived on the coral reef and joined a whale watching research trip to collect data and get a close look at these spectacular creatures.
Fiona Deacon, Strode's A-level biology teacher, said: "Madagascar provided our biology students with a wealth of experiences and opportunities.
"They have expanded their knowledge about the native wildlife and culture, they have seen first-hand the effects of deforestation on the environment and they have been inspired and motivated to learn more about biology and the world.
"It's wonderful to be able to offer such opportunities to our students."