Trips and Expeditions
To download a pdf file giving an overview of trips and expeditions we are planning and organising for 2017-2018, please click here.
Please see below information on forthcoming overseas expeditions, together with details and reports of some of our recent adventures.
Forthcoming Biological Expedition to Galapagos and Ecuador, July 2017
After very successful expeditions to Indonesia, Madagascar and Guyana, the Biology Department will take a group of A-level students to the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador in 2017.
Once again, the expedition will be run by Operation Wallacea, who have been successfully running schools’ conservation expeditions since 1995, aiming to identify areas worthy of protection and to provide hard data on the efficacy of conservation management programmes.
The projects are run in conjunction with more than 150 academics from international universities. Surveys undertaken by student groups have contributed to international research, resulting in the publication of hundreds of research papers and the discovery of 30 new vertebrate species. Furthermore, in some remote areas, species thought to be extinct have been re-discovered.
The Galapagos Islands need no introduction and are famed for the huge numbers of species that live nowhere else, not to mention their role in the formation of the theory of evolution proposed our most famous Old Salopian. Over the five days that the group will spend on the Islands, they will complete an ecology course that will include terrestrial and snorkel practical work.
Ecuador is listed as one of the top countries in the world for biodiversity, and the group will spend a week with the Huaorani Amerindians in the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve at the remote Nenkepare forest camp, which is accessed by long boat along the Shiripuno River.
Field surveys will include:
- Soundscape analysis of bird and frog calls and mist netting for birds
- Forest structure and carbon surveys
- Camera trapping, small mammal trapping and herpetofauna surveys
- Fish and river wildlife surveys using gill nets, fyke traps and angling.
Participants will be challenged and inspired and will build a strong knowledge of ecological techniques and biology. The expedition will also contribute directly to conservation in an area that has been identified as a global priority for conservation and visiting the Galapagos should be inspirational. Furthermore, it will provide an opportunity to gain an insight into life in the Developing World which will be of huge value to any young person.
For full details, please see Dr Case’s letter to parents which includes a Confirmation of Interest Form that needs to be returned to him by Wednesday 9th December 2015.
Operation Wallacea: Biology Expedition to Guyana, July 2015
Twenty-two Salopians and four staff members travelled to Guyana in 2015 to undertake conservation work in the Iwokrama Forest – a protected area deep inside the largest undisturbed tract of tropical rainforest in the world. The area boasts some of the highest biodiversity in the world and many of the species found there exist nowhere else.
The group worked alongside specialists and undergraduates and carried out surveys for mammals, bats, herpetofauna, birds, forestry, dung beetles and aquatic fauna, gathering data to contribute to an annual monitoring programme used to understand changes in abundance and diversity of wildlife.
Highlights included experiencing a remote rainforest, seeing incredible wildlife including the iconic anaconda, caiman and giant otter, sleeping in hammocks, seeing deadly fer de lance snakes up close and eating beetle grubs and huge piranha.
There can be no doubt that all the members of the team gained memories for life, insights into a little known country and a new appreciation of the world and their place in it.
A fuller report is published on the Biology Expedition to Guyana page.
Operation Wallacea: Biology Expeditions to Sulawesi, August 2011 and to Madagascar in July 2013
Seventeen pupils and three members of staff took part in an expedition to Sulawesi, Indonesia, in August 2011. This extraordinary island is of particular interest to biologists due to the deep ocean trench that separates it from the nearby island of Borneo, as a result of which 68% of the mammals and 34% of the birds are endemic to Sulalwesi. Please see the full report for more information.
Following on from the success of the inaugural Operation Wallacea expedition, a second Sixth Form expedition took place in July 2013, this time to Madagascar. 90% of Madagascar's plant and animal species are found nowhere else on Earth, and it is known by naturalists as the Eighth Continent. The team of 26 pupils and four members of staff spent their first week in the Spiny Forest in the south of the island, where they worked alongside ecologists from Operation Wallacea carrying out surveys of vegetation, observing lemur behaviour and measuring the distributions of reptiles and birds.
During the second week, they travelled north to the rainforest national parks in a bid to discover some very rare species of lemur. The first three days consisted of pure 4x4 adventure through amazing landscapes inaccessible to most tourists, with eight river crossings on the first day. Highlights of that week included seeing five species of lemur, including the critically endangered Golden Bamboo Lemur, and hearing Indri – the largest species of lemur – calling at Andasibe. Highlights of the intrepid explorers’ adventures and a few of their photos are included on the Biology Expedition to Madagascar page, where you can also view a stunning photobook of the Expedition.
Medic Malawi Community Service Expeditions, July 2012, 2014 and 2016
Since 2010, Shrewsbury School has been supporting the work of Medic Malawi. This is a charity based in Shrewsbury which supports a hospital in Mtunthama, serving 100,000 people in rural Malawi, a clinic and nutrition centre, two schools and an orphanage, which keeps 100 children safe, educated and fed.
Every two years since 2012, a group of Fifth and Sixth Form students has travelled to Mtunthama to spend time working alongside staff in the projects, helping with the daily routine tasks and making friends with many of the children who live there.
When they visited in 2012, the Shrewsbury students asked what was needed next, and when told ‘an eye clinic’, they stood in the space where the walls would be. Two years later, the money for that clinic had been raised at Shrewsbury School, through an African Ball, non-uniform days, cookie sales and sponsored events. When the next group arrived in 2014, they were proud to see that the Shrewsbury School Eye Clinic had been built. Trachoma and cataracts are now treated here, two of the preventable eye problems which are all too prevalent in Malawi. Patients arrive at the clinic unable to see, and leave with sight restored.
The trip in July 2016 was our first joint one with members of 'the Shewsy' (Shrewsbury House), our youth club in Liverpool. To read an account of the trip and photo gallery, please see: Medic Malawi Expedition 2016
World Challenge Expeditions: 2009 and 2011
The big difference with World Challenge is that the participants are expected to earn the money themselves, by getting a job, organising events, making and selling goods. World Challenge expeditions are different in other ways too. When we are in-country each student takes a turn at being the leader. They make decisions about when the team should get up, what bus they need to catch, what food to buy from the market for dinner. The students are also in charge of the budget, and two members of the team will act as accountants throughout the expedition. This is not to say that the World Challenge leader and members of school staff will not step in if there is an issue of safety – please be assured that we will!
For general information about World Challenge, please visit their website: www.world-challenge.co.uk.