HTWT works in schools in a variety of ways, but there are two common patterns.
1. The whole school approach.
With a small school, every class participates in turn. The aim of the day is to discover the biodiversity of the school grounds/nearby habitat. Each class has a time slot of about 45 mins during which they explore one part of the grounds using the appropriate technique - pond-dipping, pitfall trapping etc.. The animals that are collected are brought back to the trailer for video display and recording. Discussions take place at this time about animal types, adaptations and ecology. It is often possible to divide a class in two at this time so that each group gets a better view of the animals that they have caught. Another activity is run in parallel that encourages closer examination of the animals.
Students can carry out extension work in their own classes supported by HTWT materials. By the end of the day, all habitats have been
2. A single class or year group.
If a whole or half day can be given over to a smaller group of students, there is much more flexibility of approach. The trailer can become the facilitator of a more detailed investigation of one or more habitats. Measurement of habitat parameters can be made as part of a comparison between 2 or more sites or one habitat, for instance, a pond, can be investigated with a view to generating a realistic food-web for the community using the WebHex system. By estimating numbers of each type of animal, further insights into the ecology can be discovered and a wealth of data handling opportunities created.
Aschool visit is planned during a pre-visit by Richard Osmond, and variations to the above patterns are always possible.
HTWT also works with schools at a habitat site away from the school. Often this is funded by a 3rd party that then invites the schools to participate. Similar animal collecting and investigating activities occur to those carried out during school visits
At nature reserve open days, family fun days and country shows, HTWT provides a great attraction to all ages. Displaying animals that have been caught from the adjacent habitats on the big screen can literally and figuratively open peoples eyes. It is quite obvious from the conversations that occur in front of the trailer that people are being amazed by what lives in their own vicinity. Collections of animals are often made during the day with public participation, either by ourselves or by others taking part in the event. With freshwater life, there is usually a large sample in trays from which people can catch animals to be displayed on camera.
If you own or manage a pond or other habitat area, and would like to know more about what lives there and how to maintain or increase the biodiversity, then HTWT can carry out a survey, offer recommendations and leave you with a video record of the animals from your site. The display facilities are also a good way to promote the benefits of a habitat creation scheme or to demonstrate the need for action where a habitat is under threat.
On this page you can see the variety of ways in which HTWT can be used to support environmental education in schools or at public events ..... and don’t forget that the equipment can also be used off the trailer to run indoor workshops.