This year is the first time the Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS) course has been run at BIS HCMC. ESS is an IBDP Science course that looks at the interaction between the environment, ecosystems and human societies, the impact of man upon the environment and how to manage the impacts. The main focus of our studies in the national park was the sustainability and biodiversity of both the terrestrial ecosystems in the forest and the aquatic systems of the rivers running through it.
For our individual investigations we had to collect data related to an environmental issue. On the first night, a local biologist gave us more insight on the flora and fauna of the local area. We then spent the following two days learning how to use various fieldwork methods, to give us an idea of what type of data we can collect for our own investigations. After being taught how to do kick sampling, measuring biodiversity, using quadrats, soil samplings etc… we finally knew what we wanted to collect data on. After some intense brainstorming, everyone managed to find a topic of interest, based on what we had learnt over the previous few days. We spent the entirety of the next day collecting data for our investigation, or nearly, as our work was halted by a fierce storm at the end of the afternoon. We spent the last evening writing up and analysing our data.
Amidst the scorching sun, reaching over 40°C in the forest, I must say that this trip is one I will not forget in a very long time. The trip was hard work, but we learnt a lot and there was still time to make new friends and have fun. At the end of the hottest day in the forest we had time for a refreshing swim in the Me Khan river before heading back to the Sanpatong Experiential Education Centre, our base of operations.
Oscar Zeller, Year 12 student