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Tomorrow's Climate, Today's Challenge

Thermal image of students from Wellfield Business and Enterprise College Thermal image of students from Wellfield Business and Enterprise College

In December 2007 three local schools were invited to Lancaster Environment Centre to learn more about the science of climate change.

In conjunction with Setpoint Lancashire's 'Tomorrow's Climate, Today's Challenge' initiative groups of Year 8 pupils from Settlebeck High School (Sedbergh), Wellfield Business and Enterprise College (Leyland), and Queen Elizabeth School (Kirkby Lonsdale) heard talks from leading scientists involved in environmental research, as well getting hands on experience of experimenting on plants and insects. The groups first visited the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), where Rob MacKenzie and Steve Lane from LEC demonstrated how they could assess the quality of water sources by identifying which insects were living in and on the water.

The pupils then moved to LEC's Plant Eco-Physiology Laboratories where Prof. Bill Davies talked them through the mechanisms controlling plant responses to changes in climate.

In the greenhouses and labs they were able to experiment by taking thermal images of healthy and drought stressed plants. Most of the apparatus used by the pupils to determine stress levels are not available in any school laboratory and using this equipment was even a new experience for many of the accompanying science teachers.

Lin Chen and Rosalia Garcia Teijeiro who are both PhD students in the lab then assisted the pupils as they visualised plant stomata under microscopes.

The day ended with the pupils having a thermal image of the entire class taken to display in their classrooms. Each pupil also received a sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica) to take away for further study.

Sun 10 February 2008

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