Posts Tagged ‘frogs’
This year’s annual DP1 science field trips went out slightly earlier than in past years-luckily with no drastic weather consequences. The DP Physics students investigated hydroelectricity near Norton Bridge and the DP Biology class did field ecology exercises on Castlereigh Lake. Meanwhile, I took the Environmental Systems & Societies (ES&S) group up to Peak Wilderness for a study of biodiversity and human impact. It was a relatively small group (eight students), supported by Rebecca Morse our new language acquisition teacher. Together we enjoyed three days of learning, basic accommodation and the traditional hike up to the summit of Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak).
Once again we focused on four broad themes related to the Environmental Systems & Societies syllabus.
- Theme 1: Land Use Variation (anthropocentric vs. natural ecosystems, plantation agriculture etc.)
- Theme 2: Forest & Vegetation Types (lowland, montane tropical forests, cloud forests)
- Theme 3: Vertical Zonation
- Theme 4: Biodiversity in a ‘Biodiversity Hotspot’
This year’s group proved to be particularly good at finding frogs and I also encountered several notable bird species that are highlighted in the pictures in this post. The Peak Wilderness area, now designated as a World Heritage Site, is rich in amphibian diversity with new species being described in recent years (see links below). The design of our day hike to the peak is such that it allows the group to stop, look and record examples of biodiversity. The Peak Wilderness area is, of course, very different than what the Colombo area hosts and much of what we see in plants, amphibians, fungi etc. needed to be properly identified with the aid of guide books. The other themes were reinforced both on the hike and the days getting to the Fishing Hut and back. The trip is not designed to be data-driven and the focus of the three short days is on observations and experiencing the guiding themes. Walking up to the peak is a rather physically demanding aspect that distinguishes the ES&S trip from the other science field studies. Most of the class was hobbling around campus on the two remaining school days of the week when we returned. This was my 18th trip, if my calculations are correct, and along with the rest of the group I returned with a sense of accomplishment, awe in the beauty of nature and concern for the way that our species is treating this sacred mountain.
PAST SRI PADA STUDIES
- OSC Class of 2010 (Sri Pada 2008trip)
- OSC Class of 2011 (Sri Pada 2009trip)
- OSC Class of 2012 (Sri Pada 2010trip)
- OSC Class of 2013 (Sri Pada 2011trip)
- OSC Class of 2014 (Sri Pada 2012trip)
- OSC Class of 2015 (Sri Pada 2013 trip)
- OSC Class of 2016 (Sri Pada 2014 trip)
- OSC Class of 2017 (Sri Pada 2015 trip)
FURTHER READING & REFERENCES
Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF). Western Ghats and Sri Lanka Biodiversity Hotspot. May 2007. Web.
Pethiyagoda, Rohan. Horton Plains: Sri Lanka’s Cloud Forest National Park. Colombo: WHT, 2013. Print.
Rodrigo, Malaka. “Eight new shrub frogs discovered from the Peak Wilderness.” Sunday Times. 2013. Web.
“Taking polythene and plastic water bottles to sacred Sri Pada Mountain banned during season.” Colombo Page. 13 December 2016. Web.
Werner, Wolfgang. Sri Lanka’s Magnificent Cloud Forests. Colombo: Wildlife Heritage Trust, 2001. Print.