Written by Ashleigh
This summer I was lucky enough to take part in a one-week ‘Student Environmental Research Team [SERT] trip along with 4 other students and 2 lecturers, to Croatia. This was such an amazing opportunity not only to develop research skills but also to travel to a new country, all thanks to doing my BSc (Hons) Geography degree at BU.
The purpose of the trip was to investigate the ‘Resilience of Forests as Socio-Ecological Systems’ in Croatia. After some stressful hours at the airport, we eventually landed in Zagreb on day one where we stayed for the first two nights. We used this time to explore the city and visited the University of Zagreb for a GIS and mapping workshop to produce a visual of the area we would be working in.
On day three, it was onto the hard work as we travelled to the northern county of Zagorje where we began carrying out our research in the Croatian forests. We measured out 6 different plots over the course of three days, measuring variables such as tree species, soil composition and canopy cover, whilst learning to use specialist equipment, and discussing what kind of factors were affecting the different sections of forest to produce such characteristics. After many mosquito bites, spiders webs and intense work in the forests, we finally finished our data collection so headed back to the city where we stayed our last three nights in Zagreb again. We produced a presentation on our fieldwork research, linking theory to practice and answering the research question: “To What Extent Can Management Strategies be Implemented in Croatian Forests”, which we presented to our lecturers and some academics at the University of Zagreb.
During our trip we also visited some lovely spots around Croatia including the Botanical Gardens, the Nicola Tesla Museum, the Cathedral and the Museum of Broken Relationships….not to mention all the amazing cafes and restaurants in the city centre. It was overall a fantastic opportunity which I feel we all thoroughly enjoyed and would definitely recommend to anyone considering it!
This fantastic opportunity was part of the SERT scheme offered in the SciTech faculty of BU. They can last from a couple days to even a month or two, and can be based in the local area or slightly further from home. Not only are they a fantastic way to diversify your placement experience but give you the opportunity to take part in research with lecturers. So if your course requires you to complete a placement definitely check out the Co-Creation website where you can find out more.
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