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Geography students get practical

Geography students at King Edward College have been learning more about river management and flooding in preparation for their exams next year.

Professor Nick Clifford, Head of Department at King’s College, London came to give a talk on “Changing approaches to river management” to students at the college.  This was followed by a two day trip to Shropshire to study rivers in action and practice what they had learnt. Professor Clifford gave a fascinating insight into rivers and the way humans have altered and affected their systems.  First year Geography student Maggie Barrow from Nuneaton said “I really enjoyed the talk.  It was very interesting and it helped me understand rivers a bit more and to understand how everything works together in the system.”  Not only did the talk give the students a useful insight into how their studies are related to larger projects and research but Professor Clifford also spoke to students about doing geography and related courses at University level, offering an insight into the Russell Group universities in particular.  Kate Phillips, from the Geography Department, said that it was very useful for the students to hear confirmation from a well-placed source that geography really does give you lots of transferable skills and offer an exciting future.  “Almost half the students present said they were interested in following a geography-related course and career.  I think that Nick was a really inspiring person for them to hear, as he also is an example of a local person who has, if you’ll excuse the pun, really gone places!!” The talk was followed with the annual residential field trip to Shropshire.  The first year students went for two days to study how river systems work.  The first day was spent investigating how the channel characteristics change along a river – a chance to put into practise some of the ideas they had heard about in their talk.  The second day was spent assessing the flood risk in Shrewsbury.  This was a bit of a “geography in action” day because the river was almost overflowing!

The students got the chance to use interactive GIS modelling tools applying their results to existing data using Google earth tools.

Student Sarah King from Nuneaton said “I really enjoyed working as a team, and getting to know everyone in the department.  The rivers day was really fun although Shrewsbury Starbucks was very nice!”

Kate Phillips explained “The trip is used to prepare students for their exams and that they really benefit from the practical work and the chance to try lots of different techniques, led by very experienced Centre staff, although another big draw is the cake!!”

Sarah King

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