The 2018 School

What did our workshop leaders, mentors and the students have to say about the 2018 summer school which took place at Margam Discovery Centre in South Wales

Our programme

We couldn’t run an event like this without the immense support and enthusiasm form our workshop leaders and speakers and cannot begin to thank our contributors enough for all their efforts.  All workshop leaders and contributors gave their time for free, every session we hosted appeared in evaluations as someone’s favourite session.  Our programme offered students the chance to understand the breadth of ecological science and consider the applications of ecology to current issues in society such as emerging diseases, food security, urban ecology, animal behaviour, animal physiology, plant soil interactions, microbiology and more.

Our programme

Students thoughts

Saniya joined us from Newham Collegiate in London and best summarises how the BES summer school changed her thinking, “I’ve always wanted to do biology, but I didn’t know what in biology I wanted to pursue.  Doing this week has definitely shown me that I want to go into conservation,, do more ecology and do fieldwork.  I’ve got more to talk to my parents about.  They’re very iffy on biology, there’s nothing to do with it and it’s a waste of time but now I feel like I can confidently go up to them and say this is what I want to do and why I want to do it and there’s loads of opportunities for me”

Kayla joined us from Kings Warrington and wrote about her experience. “For someone who has always been in love with ecology, the BES summer school was an amazing experience. Upon arrival I was overwhelmed by the brilliant people around me. I had the chance not only to meet like-minded young people, but to be inspired by adults who had started out just like we did.

The days were brimming with activities; they began as early as 6am, and finished well after the sun had set. I was surprised at how many different careers ecology had to offer. We had lectures on a plethora of different topics, from marine ecology and animal behaviour to conservation and microbiomics. My favourite activities always took place after it went dark – groups of us learned how to track animals using UV lights and some neon powder (although more ended up on our faces than on the bugs!). It is overwhelmingly unanimous that the bat detecting was the best session of all. Our final night of the trip was spent wandering around a castle with our flashlights on the search for bats, and later watching them swoop down over the lake one after another.

The trip allowed students to have so much freedom and independence. My friends and I would eat our lunch together before spending our free time exploring the grounds. We made friends with more than just students; it became routine for us to visit the ponies, donkeys and pigs at any chance we got! Looking back, it is still the people that I was surrounded by that stand out the most. I formed so many friendships through speaking to people that I would have otherwise never met. The summer school allowed us to branch out and talk to people from different areas of the country that all shared the same passion for biology and the environment. Being away from home meant that the friends I travelled with all became so much closer, and the trip allowed us to meet lecturers from all around the world. They were endlessly inspiring and so willing to teach us everything they knew. It was great to talk to people who are dedicating their lives to something that they are clearly so passionate about. The trip opened doors that I didn’t even know existed and it made me so excited to pursue a future in ecology”

Workshop leaders thoughts

It honestly was a pleasure to do this i really enjoyed my short time down there with you, the mentors and the wonderful kids! Its great to know that while they won’t be geographers they’re all excited about becoming ecologists and biologists. More scientists the better

Thank you for inviting us along to be a part of this. It was indeed a lovely experience interacting with such smart and enthused youngsters!

Very happy to do this again…..You’re really changing lives!

What an extraordinary program you have created with such a tangible impact on so many students lives! I am so impressed by the calibre of  students and am very hopeful for our Millennial Ecologists of the Future