This blogpost is exclusive to the Environmental Scientists and the fieldtrip is part of the SBC224 Ecological Interactions module that you will take in the second year. This is only one of the few compulsory modules that you study with the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences. However, you can take up as many biology modules as you wish in your third year as there are no compulsory ones.
To be completely honest, I was quite terrified before we set off for the trip. The lecturer kept reminding us of how we were staying in a rural part of Croatia (no WiFi or signal being the indirect message) and we would have to cook ourselves dinner everyday for a week. We were even asked about the ingredients we needed so they could pre-order and it would hopefully all be there on the day we arrive. Yikes.
Despite all that, this was definitely the best fieldtrip I’ve had so far! If you’re truly an ecologist, you will love this! We lived in the ecological station which was situated about an hour or so away from Split (make sure you spend some time in this beautiful city!) and because of that we probably had the best sunrise and sunset views. There was a lake about a 10 minute walk away with a range of mountains on the other side.
Throughout the entire trip, our only piece of coursework was the field notebook (we did have a few presentations and activities but they weren’t assessed). So make sure you note down everything you see and anything you do, literally! We had lecturers from the University of Zagreb with us throughout the week and they were so passionate about their subjects that you couldn’t help but listen! The first few days we visited the Krka National Park and sampled plankton in Lake Visovac. We had a few exercises to study invertebrates in permanent and intermittent springs which were in the Cetina Spring and the Krcic River. The next few days we studied frogs and crayfish. We even got two crayfish back to our station and made a cute little home for them in our tank. This was because there was a slight chance that students coming the next week wouldn’t be able to see the crayfish in their natural habitat. The other activities were bird watching where we observed feeding behaviour from afar using binoculars and spotting scopes and finally, observing bats on the last day. We went up to the bat cave at about dusk and saw them coming out. The lecturers already had caught a few young ones and we were able to see them up close. And once the bats left their cave, we walked back whilst watching the bright starry lit night sky.
I hope you enjoy the fieldtrip as much as I did! Just go with an open mind and heart ready to learn and embrace everything that you see and hear! 🙂