04 October 2020

Special occasion: pandemic fieldtrip!

We had moved most face-to face-teaching to the second semester, back in summer. We just hoped that by then things would have improved by then, and such things would be a lot easier. Will that be the case? Quite possibly not! But one hopes. But not all face-to face teaching moved; the biologists were doing lots of practicals, and our field trip module would run in both semesters. We did want to make it worthwhile for the students to have come to campus! So on the second day of term we went into the field. We were going to beautiful Llanddwyn. And it was more beautiful than the previous time we took the students here! Last year it was awful weather on that trip

It was a bit different from normal. In previous years, we would always make sure that one member of staff would travel on the coach with the students. Not this year! We staff are in a group with much more risk that the students. The students are not likely to get seriously ill, but due to their living conditions and their general penchant for socialising (I sure did back then), they are much more likely than us grumpy loners in our big houses are to get infected. So we didn't join them in the bus! I had volunteered to follow the bus in my car, so the students were not unaccompanied. So I went to Bangor, welcomed the students, gave everyone a squirt of hand gel and checked their face masks before they would get onto the bus, and then got into my car and tried to keep up with the bus driver. I managed, and we got to the destination There we met the others: the other staff who had come in their own cars, and some students who had done the same. 

One student had heard along the way he had to self-isolate as he had been in the vicinity of someone who had tested positive. He bailed out of the trip and went for a walk. A pity! But with the rest we went on. We looked at the pillow lavas, the agglomerate produced when the volcanism creating the basalts was still messy, a volcanic bomb, and the boundary between sedimentary and volcanic rocks. These were outcrops for Dei and Jaco. And then we were hungry and sat down for lunch! 

After lunch it was my turn. We walked to the outcrop of limestone and I explained what it meant. I think it went well! I had practiced, after all. And then we went to the melange. That one was mine too! I tried to make them find all aspects of the Ocean Plate Stratigraphy in the mangled fragments there. A bit tricky as everything has been so deep! And then we were done. We were good to walk back. And we delivered the students back on time! 

I'm glad we got that fieldwork in! We can't be sure we can go again. We might be in lockdown again by the time we have the next one. I hope not! But time will tell... 

Jaco points out an interesting horizon

Me talking about the melange

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