Georgina Prendergast, Coláiste Choilm, Balincollig.
I would like to start off by saying my experience on the BEES TY Work Experience Programme is one that I will never forget. I learned a lot more about science and it is definitely something I will consider doing at third level. The TY Programme gave me a great insight into topics such as Geology, Ecology & Zoology and Plant Science. I also made loads of new friends who are also interested in science.
At the start of the week we did a Terrestrial Ecology practical. This involved taking insects that we had collected in pitfall traps, and looking at them under the microscope. We compared the different insects and the quantity found in grassland and Japanese knotweed. We discovered that the majority of insects were found in the grassland. I really enjoyed this because not only did I learn about different types of insects, I also learned about Japanese knotweed and the effects it has on land and the environment. My favourite part of this practical was looking at the insects under the microscope. I found it fascinating to see each individual insect in great detail.
For me, one of the highlights was when we did bird ringing. This is basically a simple way of tracking birds to find out their natural habitats and migration patterns. We worked alongside Barry O’Mahony and John Quinn to catch, track and ring, and release the birds. We caught many of the same species of birds including, gold crests, red tits and blue tits. Before this programme I had never even heard of bird ringing. The best part of bird ringing was having the opportunity to ring a bird, something I wouldn’t have done outside of the programme. It really made me feel like I was flying with the birds. It was great fun and I think everyone else on the programme really enjoyed it too.
Other activities during the week included a tour of the School of BEES, Geology studies, Plant Science lectures and practical’s where we learned about soils and which soils tend to hold more minerals than others. We also got a tour of the UCC main campus and library. We did various science experiments in the Eureka Centre on campus, and worked on a project in groups on different topics such as Zoology, Geology, Applied Plant Science, and Environmental Studies. Overall it was a fantastic week that made science fun.