Budding biologists explore the environment

  • Date

    Thu 28 Mar 24

A child peers into a microscope

Hundreds of tiny budding biologists stepped out of their classrooms and learnt why the environment matters from world-leading researchers.

The primary school children enjoyed fieldwork in the picturesque grounds of the University of Essex’s Colchester Campus and used its cutting-edge labs.

Whilst on an expedition around Essex’s beautiful Wivenhoe Park grounds the youngsters spotted sparrowhawks, buzzards and even majestic peregrine falcons.

After exploring nature, the Year 5 and 6 pupils from Greenstead, other parts of Colchester, as well as Wivenhoe stepped into the lab and studied microbes under high-powered microscopes – whilst donning their very own lab coats.

Organised by the University’s School of Life Sciences and Outreach team it is hoped the showcase will inspire the children to consider a career in science.

Elizabeth Archer, a Senior Research Officer in the School, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity to show many local young children that science can be really fun, exciting and accessible.

“We particularly hope to inspire their interest in the natural world, from the small but mighty microbes to the fascinating plants and animals that live on our doorstep.”

The events were set up as a partnership with the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board and supported by EU grant InChildHealth.

It is hoped many of the pupils will be the first in their families to pursue STEM careers.

Future career

Olivia Solanke, Outreach Officer, said: “This event helps the children see that the fun activities they may be doing on campus could turn into a future career.

“It is especially rewarding to be able to offer these kinds of opportunities to pupils who may not have engaged with STEM in this way before and we are delighted to be able to offer more of these experiences through our additional funding.”

Across two weeks more than 250 children from Colchester’s Unity Primary Academy, Hazelmere Junior School, Birch CofE Primary School and Hamilton Primary School took part.

They were joined by Wivenhoe’s Broomgrove Junior School.