TY2014: Sea Urchins don’t like Pink

Niamh Bain, Loreto Secondary School, Clonmel


I really enjoyed the Transition Year program in the School of BEES here in UCC. I learned a lot and got to do things and meet people that I possibly wouldn’t ever have the chance to if I had not taken part in the program.

I had to drive down every morning to Cork from Co. Tipperary with another girl, and get the train back to Limerick Junction in the evening. On the first morning, we really overestimated how long it would take us to get here, and arrived at five past nine, when the course didn’t start until 10 in the morning. We met everybody in the program on that first morning and got split into our groups. We then took a tour of the School of BEES campus. We saw the museum over in the Cooperage, which was fascinating; who knew a platypus was so small, or so soft! They had a chicken with three legs, a two headed cat, and a Cyclops kitten, which was cool, but a bit scary at the same time.

We had various practicals and lectures. I think my favourite practical was the Zoology experiment with the Sea Urchin we were put in pairs, and each pair had a sea Urchin in a tank. We had to put the sea urchin in the middle of the tank, which was harder than it sounds because it did not want to leave the corner of the tank at all. We then put in opposite corners, a piece of seaweed and a piece of pink fluffy fabric to see which the Sea Urchin preferred. Every second group had to put a black bag over the tank, to keep the urchin in the dark. I think every single Sea urchin went to the seaweed and put it on top of itself. Sea Urchins don’t like pink.

We had a practical of bird ringing, where some birds were caught in a mist-net (I think that was what it was called anyway) and we were shown how to put a ring on their leg for tracking purposes. We also had a Radio tracking practical, where our group was split in two, and one group hid the tracking device and the other group had to find it using the radio.

There were a lot of funny moments in the program, and we got to meet a lot of scientists who are experts in their field, and extremely passionate about they’re chosen subject.

After this program I have learned that I am very interested in Zoology and animal sciences. I did not really consider doing Zoology in college before this, but now it is a real option for me. This program has definitely been a worthwhile experience, despite all the travelling.

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