18 July 2019
Biology trip to Mexico
Environmental conservation in Mexico
At the beginning of the summer holidays a group of L6 students set off on a two-week expedition to Mexico with the aim of helping Operation Wallacea, an environmental conservation organisation, collect data for its research programmes.
The trip consisted of a week in two very different environments, the jungle and then the coast. At first, I was nervous to leave the comfort of my home to camp in a remote base in the forest. The lack of electricity was an especially daunting thought but my fears soon subsided as I found myself fully immersed in the stunning nature of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve. We were warmly taken in by friendly staff and researchers who told us all about the importance of environmental preservation through a series of lectures and data collection surveys.
From staying out late catching bats in mist nets to rising before the sun to survey a beautiful array of birds, we were always enthusiastic to throw ourselves into a range of activities. Visiting the vast ancient Mayan ruins that were just a short drive away from camp was definitely a highlight of the trip.
The second week was a bit more luxurious with a bed and air conditioning provided by Operation Wallacea’s hostel near the beach. During the second week we were able to complete our scuba diving training course and begin undertaking underwater surveys of coral and marine species. Diving was such an amazing experience; nothing like I had ever done before. We soon became friendly with a multitude of underwater species such as turtles, lobsters and sting rays. Between dives it was a pleasure to relax on a pristine Caribbean beach and enjoy the Mexican cuisine. It was also amazing to meet so many people who were passionate about conservation and the environment, all with such unique backgrounds.
The expedition was a truly inspiring fortnight, making my last school trip at Sevenoaks one that I will never forget.
Phoebe Buckland, L6