On Thursday 25th May, year six travelled the short distance down the M4 to visit the nature reserve at Magor Marsh.

The weather was tremendous, with clear skies and bright sunshine, meaning that we all needed a thorough application of sun cream as soon as we got off the bus!

The marsh is owned and managed by the Gwent Wildlife Trust and contains lots of rare and beautiful wildlife such as birds, butterflies and water voles. Our sessions were led by Kathy Barclay from the Gwent Wildlife Trust and Susan, one of the trust’s many volunteers.

The first part of our day was all about classifying animals and learning about biodiversity. We had a wonderful time pond-dipping in one of the many reens that run through the marsh. We were able to identify blood worm and leeches, water scorpions, rare mayfly larvae and even some ravenous (and quite aggressive) beetle larvae! The reens and ponds are a perfect habitat for invertebrates, which also means that there are lots of damselflies to see hovering around the marsh. We also found a rare caddisfly larva that had made its home out of empty snail shells!

After the excitement of the first session, we headed back into the shade for a drink and our next challenge. Here, we learned about how water is recycled and treated to produce safe drinking water and we even had a go at making our own filters to clean some pond water. (It’s harder than it looks!)

The final part of our day was an insightful look into how different pollutants affect waterways (and why you should never pour milk into your pond!). We found out that lots of different substances can affect the health of waterways in particular, and that it is incredibly important to protect the diversity of life in a habitat.

Kathy and Susan were tremendous hosts and helped us to learn a lot about the environment and the living things in different habitats. We cannot thank them enough for their help and for taking the time to teach us.