Lent Term at Lancaster

By Lyea Rivers, March 2024

Lent term (2024) was a very eventful term for me and for many others. Lent term is when new modules are starting, exam preparation is on the horizon, the roses sports competitions are months away, society elections are around the corner, and the campus is buzzing with new year energy including baby ducks in spring!

During lent term, I started a few new modules and learned new skills and topics in lab sessions and during fieldwork. The most exciting fieldwork for this term was exploring a cave during my hydrology fieldwork! I also attended other optional training sessions with Green Lancaster and the FemTech & hiking societies.

I hiked up a mountain to complete a navigation course! I got elected for a safety officer role in the society elections for the first aid society. I visited a recycling centre and helped plant 500 trees with Green Lancaster, joined a few new societies and so much more! This blog will share more information on my Lent term experience.

Green Lancaster Citizen Science Training

In January, Green Lancaster in collaboration with the Freshwater Biological Association held a Citizen Science Training at Lancaster University. We learned about how to assess freshwater naturalness in rivers and lakes. We learned both the theory and had fun going outside to practically assess the lake and a few rivers/streams on campus together! It was amazing to meet new people, see familiar faces, learn together and take sustainable action.

Lancaster University Wilderness & Emergency Medicine Society

Through hiking I have gained an interest in wilderness and emergency medicine and decided to join the Wilderness & Emergency Medicine Society. I attended one of their sessions to learn about respiratory presentations in the emergency department. While the content was tailored towards medical students, I did enjoy learning a lot about a new subject!

Biogeochemical Cycles Lab Session

In the Lent semester, I started a new module about Biogeochemical Cycles. We learned about biogeochemical processes including photosynthesis, respiration, chemical weathering, free radical reactions, cloud chemistry, and atmospheric loss processes. We had to do a laboratory experiment on the chemical weathering rates of limestones. This laboratory experiment included making laboratory measurements, preparing standard solutions, measuring pH, carrying out a titration, numerical manipulation of data, and writing a laboratory report. It was a super cool group work!

Student Lyea in a lab wearing a lab coat.

Python Course with the LUFemTech Society

I started learning python through a course with the FemTech society! It was an amazing introduction. I enjoyed learning a new coding language for a few weeks and being inspired by the number of people especially women learning the course!

Green Lancaster Field Trip to Recycling Centre

Green Lancaster organised a field trip to the Farington Waste Recovery Park! We got to tour the site and learn about the different recycling processes for e.g. recycling plastic, glass, cans, compost, etc. It was the first time I had ever been in a recycling centre, and it was amazing to see what happens behind the scenes, to network and ask questions. It was also a great experience to share with people I have met on my course and through Green Lancaster in addition to meeting new people!

Student Lyea with other students, standing in front on the Green Lancaster Recycling Centre.

Arnside Field Trip for Environmental Processes and Systems Course

I have been studying Environmental Processes for two semesters and in this module, we learned about key processes of environmental change in different parts of the world, soil formation processes, processes that control erosion and deposition of sediment, environmental flow and fluid transport processes among other topics. We travelled to Arnside as a group on a self-guided field trip to learn about the physical and biogeographical processes impacting the landscape on and around Arnside Knott.

Student Lyea stands smiling on the beachside in Arnside.

Hiking Society’s Map, Compass and Planning Skills Workshop

Through the hiking society, I have watched some of my peers gain leadership skills through navigating and leading hikes. As part of my own development plan, leadership skills was on the list to develop and thankfully I have a success coach through the Lancaster Success Program that I meet once or twice termly for over a year. I had completed a few leadership trainings and roles but decided learning to navigate hikes would be my next goal as part of my development plan. It fit right into my personal goals to be able to navigate hikes in addition to my development plan. I attended their map, compass and planning skills workshop which was super fun and a challenge especially with contour lines on maps! It was great to meet new people and learn together and I am excited to practice more outdoors!

Green Lancaster Tree Planting with the Ribble Rivers Trust

Green Lancaster organized a field trip with the Ribble Rivers Trust! Together we planted 500 trees in a few hours! It was amazing to see what we could accomplish together and to be able to have this opportunity to take sustainable action together. It was truly a memorable day, and I was happy to see familiar faces and meet new people!

Student Lyea and other students standing together with planting equipment.

Hiking trip to Patterdale, Lake District for the Hiking Society’s Navigation Course

After the map, compass and planning workshop with the Hiking Society, we went to Patterdale in the Lake District to do a navigation course led by members of the Hiking Society. It is amazing to see students leading other students and teaching navigation skills. It is truly a unique display of leadership and teamwork, and I am grateful to experience this with my peers. We learned a lot about navigation practically outdoors. We hiked up to around 650 meters and there was a lot of snow at the top. After a few falls on soft snow, a snowman being built, snow in our shoes and lots of navigation, we did head back down to end the day with a coach ride home.

Student Lyea standing on a snowy hill with snowy mountains in the distance.

River Experiment & Cave Visit for Hydrology Course

In my hydrology course that I started in the Lent term, we learned about water catchment issues, precipitation, river flow, water pathways and erosion/landslide hazard, etc. In this course we traveled to the Yorkshire Dales by coach organized by the University to do fieldwork in the karst landscape.

Student Lyea standing next a river.
Student Lyea standing in a cave.

Lab Session for Global Change Biology Course

In the Lent term, I started a new module on global change biology. We learned about plant breeding, climate change impact on food production, and other topics in plant biology. We had a very exciting and interesting lab session where we learned about the effects of salt water, rust and drought on plants. I met new friends on my course, and I enjoyed learning about this new topic together!

Student Lyea in a lab using a microscope.

Learning about Mental Health with the First Aid Society & Joining the Exec

Through hiking, I have wanted to learn more about first aid, so I decided to join the First Aid Society on campus. I enjoyed their mental health presentation where we learned more about mental health and neurodivergence. We also discussed how to respond to someone who has a mental health condition. It is important to include and support our peers and I found this session very helpful. It was also great to meet new people and learn together!

Through my course, I have learned about health, safety and risk assessments for my lab sessions and my field work. I also learned a bit of health, safety and risk assessments through hiking, diving, archery and other societies. I wanted the opportunity to be a safety officer with the first aid society and ran for the position in the annual general meeting when the election for the new exec members was held. I successfully got the role and I am very excited to work with the new & old exec together for the handover and the new academic year!

Joining the Archery Society

Archery has been a dream of mine since watching Brave on Disney! I first tried archery in Malaysia on a culture exchange program and then decided to join the archery society at university. Joining the archery society was amazing and helped me focus, be calm, and be patient. I loved meeting others, making new friends and practising archery! The sports centre is amazing, and we train in the sports centre on Friday evenings. We learned how to put the archer bow together from scratch as a team and be safe when shooting arrows at the target and collecting the arrows from the target. A few peers have used the training in the society and entered competitions! A few older peers have become archery coaches as well! It is inspiring to watch and be a part of it, and I am grateful for the experience!