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redgraveEducational visits at
Redgrave & Lopham Fen

Redgrave and Lopham Fen is the largest remaining lowland valley fen in England.  Together with the adjoining land, its area extends to over 400 acres. The fen supports incredibly diverse plant and animal communities. This unique landscape of spring-fed sedge beds, rush and grass meadows, wet and dry heath, woodland and aquatic pools provides a rich environment in which to discover wildlife.

ball Discover key species at the fen with our flash game

 

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The centre at Redgrave and Lopham Fen was built in 1998 and offers a warm and light environment in which to start a visit and shelter for wet weather options. It has a gift shop and toilet facilities. Pre booked school visits have sole use of the centre. The fenced picnic area has panoramic views over the reserve and offers a safe environment for the lunch break.

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Here at Redgrave & Lopham Fen, we provide first hand experience of Suffolk’s wild places. Our programmes help students to gain knowledge & skills to understand the natural world & empower them to make informed decisions about their role in shaping the living landscape around them.

Whilst every visit to Redgrave & Lopham Fen is tailor made to suit your class and their curriculum needs, popular themes for activities emerge. Below are listed our most popular programmes. However we are flexible & will mix & match and tailor programmes to the needs of each group. 

Popular Programmes:

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Pond Life (KS 1-2):
Look at how fresh water animals are adapted to their environment, discover their life cycles and look at water quality:
Pond dipping - to find out life cycles and feeding relationships
Linking the distribution of freshwater animals to the quality of the water and the niches within the pond.

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Minibeasts (KS 1-2):
Discover the minibeasts that live at Redgrave & Lopham Fen:
Surveys – find out what’s there and learn different survey techniques
Keys – using simple keys for identification
Look at habitat preferences, create food chains and life cycle strategies
Compost time line and ‘making soil’

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Plant Life (KS 1-2):
Study the plants found at the Fen, learning survey techniques and looking at individual plants and flowers in more detail:
Survey techniques – using tables for recording
Detailed studies – looking at plants close up and naming parts of the plant
Exploring pollination and seed dispersal strategies

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Tree Studies (KS 1-2):
Study the trees found at the Fen, using scientific methods, games and art:

The woodland habitat - textures and animal detectives
Tree study - comparing different methods for measuring tree height, including the use of clinometers
Build a tree - the role of different parts of a tree

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Literacy and the environment (KS 1-2):
Using literacy and the senses to explore the environment:

The Hungry Caterpillar - camouflage, life cycles, symmetry, days of the week and counting through this popular story
Experience the outdoor environment - colours, textures, smells and sounds of a meadow

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The River Study (KS 1-2): (particularly suited to spring and autumn terms)
Explore and study the source of the River Waveney:
See the source of the River Waveney, tributaries and sluice gate
Use a map and learn geographical terms
Take measurements - width, depth, temperature and flow
Draw a labelled field sketch of the river
Explore water conservation, uses of the river and the water cycle

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Forest Schools activity days (KS 1-2): (Autumn and Winter terms only)
Forest Schools uses varied natural resources in the woodland and the children’s interests to stimulate imaginative, creative and investigative activities. Spend a day exploring a woodland through forest schools activities
Exploring the woods - mud face trail and journey sticks
Textures and touches - soil painting, rope mobiles and bark rubbings
Animals of the woods - animal detectives, minibeast hunts, minibeast homes
Survival - survival trail and shelter building including the 'water test'!!

If you want to know more about forest schools or would like to book a series of forest schools sessions, please contact the Education Officer (details below) and/or follow this link: forest schools with SWT

apple printing

Environmental Art (KS 1-4):
Gaining inspiration from the natural world & natural materials to create artwork:
Look at and discuss the work of landscape artists
Explore the materials used in environmental art and construction methods
Create group sculptures in a woodland environment
Show how the final piece of work has been developed

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Sampling invertebrate populations
(KS 3-4):
Learn how to sample invertebrate populations using different techniques and look at their distribution
Sampling terrestrial invertebrates using a variety of techniques such as sweep netting, pit fall traps, and pooters
Considering the relative distribution of different invertebrates and hypothesizing as to the reasons for differential distribution

pond dipping

Fresh water studies (KS 3-4):
Learn how to study water quality and the animal life it contains
Pond dipping, standardizing procedures. Using keys for identification
Assessing water quality using a biotic index
Measuring abiotic factors
Comparing with a sample from another fresh water body on the reserve
Considering adaptations to aquatic life and niches within the pond
Explore water conservation issues and where our water comes from

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Plant surveys (KS 3-4):
Survey plants at the Fen using scientific methods
Using quadrats to sample an area
Comparing vegetation along a transect and considering factors influencing changing vegetation
Taking measurements of abiotic factors
Assessing the affects of coppice management on plant distribution

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The restoration of a National Nature Reserve (KS 3-4):
Look at how Redgrave & Lopham Fen became what it is today and investigate present day management
A case study of the management of the fen, looking at past influences and the restoration of the site, management practices and outcomes
Investigating potential conflicts between conservation and visitor access

In addition to the above programmes, Redgrave & Lopham Fen can also provide a research site for pupils undertaking practical studies for GCSE or AS/A level. Courses can be developed with you to cover your particular syllabus requirements. Typically, a short introduction to the site is given in the centre, followed by fieldwork to collect statistical data which can take the form of one or several visits. Please contact the education officer for further information or to book your visit.

Our programmes are fun and flexible and will be tailored to your group's specific needs.
Full site and activity risk assessments are available on request for all activities, please ask for these if required.
If you wish to book a visit or have a query, please contact the Redgrave & Lopham Fen Education officer:
Education Officer – Cathy Smith
Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Redgrave & Lopham Fen Education Centre, Low Common Road, South Lopham, Diss, IP22 2HX
Tel:  01379 688333    email: #

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