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Shrewsbury, Shropshire, United Kingdom
FSC Preston Montford has been an outdoor classroom since 1957 and is a Field Studies Council centre. We deliver curriculum related outdoor education by the experts; from pre-school to Masters level; for infants, school students, undergraduates and enquiring adults with an interest in the natural world. Courses for schools and individuals. A venue for others to use; with bed space for 130, catering facilities and 7 fully equipped teaching and meeting spaces.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A visit from South Farnham School

Last week we had the pleasure of our first visit from South Farnham School. The group had a busy week planned, investigating the history of Shropshire and the Victorian era. The groups first day involved a visit to Enginuity, a science and technology based museum, where the students experienced some hands-on activities.

The second day was a trip to the quaint village of Ironbridge where South Farnham students visited the World Heritage Site. Our tours began with a discussion of the students initial impressions of the famous bridge. During the tours we stopped at various locations including the goods shed, the toll house and underneath the bridge to look at the profile of Abraham Derby, which his employees built into the structure. One of the first activities the students completed was to work out the age of the bridge using the roman numerals and converting them to what the date would be now using our current system. Other activities the students completed was writing a postcard in the style of a Victorian tourist or a corporate spy for an engineering company; as well as calculating the cost of crossing the toll bridge in shillings and pence. The afternoon was then spent at Jackfield Tile Museum where everyone had the opportunity to paint their own tile.   

The following day was a trip to Blists Hill. We took the children around the Victorian town to get an idea of what life would have been like in this industrial area. The students were encouraged to ask lots of questions to the people of the town; highlights included visiting the candle maker, the miner’s and doctor’s cottage, the printers, as well as a session in the Victorian school with Preston Montford’s finest teachers. 

In the evening South Farnham had a competition during the egg drop activity to see whose egg would survive the fall from the top of the main house. Each team was given limited supplies of material such as bubble wrap, string and paper, and only one piece of sellotape. The eggs were dropped from a high height and then given a score on the ability of the egg to escape and not breaking, as well as extra points for the creativity of the group name and the design. The children had a lot of fun doing this and it was a very enjoyable activity for their last night.

It was a really enjoyable few days spent with a really great group of children. We both look forward to greeting the next bunch from South Farnham next week for more fun and games. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Big moth alert!

Our regular weekly moth trapping session has been a bit quiet of late due to the colder weather but this morning we found our first hawkmoth of the season, a really beautiful Poplar Hawkmoth (Laothoe populi). The colours were really fresh on this one, so it probably only emerged in the last few days.

Poplar Hawkmoth

Poplar Hawkmoths are the most widely distributed hawkmoth in the UK and recorded from all counties. They overwinter as pupa underground and do not feed as adults - all their food during the adult stage comes from reserves in their big fat body.

Amongst the moths that we see frequently at this time of year, we also had a Pebble Prominent (Notodonta ziczac) - our moth records go back to 1967 and this is only the fourth time it has been caught on site, so it was a real treat to see it.

Pebble Prominent

But my favourite of the day was probably this Chocolate-tip (Clostera curtula). Moths are masters of camouflage and this one looks just like a piece of broken twig.