As the Amazon Rain Forest was a little too far for a geography field trip, Prep Five enjoyed a more local expedition to Worsley Woods this week, to explore features that all woods and forests share. The weather was perfect for a rain forest trip, wet and humid!

As soon as we entered the woods, we used our sense of hearing to listen the rain dripping from the highest branches. We could also hear some beautiful bird song. It may not have been the sound of the macaws, parrots and harpy eagles who inhabit the real rain forest, but the blackbirds were doing their best!

We took a close look at the leaf litter which forms the bottom layer of all woods and forests – was that a leech happily crawling across Mr Grant’s hands? Someone definitely found a slug in their handful! As well as using our sense of touch, we also smelt the leaf litter, which reminded someone of a slightly rotten barbecue…! As we ventured in further, we counted how many different types of plants in the woods jostle for space, each fighting to survive, just as they would in a larger rain forest.

 Growing below the taller trees, we found tiny trees which had just started to grow. However, the dense canopy made by the leaves and branches above made it impossible for them to find the light and sun which they would need to survive. We spotted gaps in the canopy, where older trees died which allowed smaller plants like grass and ferns to start to grow on the woodland floor.

When we made our rainforest games at school, we learnt about some of the creatures who make rainforests their home, such as jaguars, sloths, howler monkeys and red-eyed tree frogs; unfortunately there was nothing quite this exotic in Worsley Woods, but we did say hello to some lively dogs out on their afternoon walk!

On our way back to school, we heard the relentless flow of traffic and learnt how much of the woods had been destroyed to build the M60 motorway. Similarly, large parts of rain forests all over the world are destroyed when roads are built, destroying the habitats of many animals and plants and felling huge numbers of the trees which give our planet oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.

We had plenty of food for thought as we ambled back and were fuelled by more tangible food in the form of Jammy Dodgers and Bourbon biscuits to keep us going! Our thanks to Mr Grant for his enthusiasm and geographic and scientific expertise, and to Eva in Year Ten who kindly accompanied us.

Prep V explore the rainy Worsley forest….

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