by Abbie Townsley, Final Year Student
On Monday 31st October, a very foggy and cold Birmingham was exchanged for the sunny Canary Island of Tenerife. After a 4 hour and 20-minute flight we all looked at each other in shock as we walked out of the terminal, realising how warm Tenerife could actually be in October/November. Thrilled in contrast to the temperate climate we left behind. The reading regarding the all year around resort and sub-tropical climate was sinking in, I understood instantly why tourists visited Tenerife in the winter months. However, we weren’t there to holiday, we had a job to do, to discover the island from a number of different perspectives, keeping a detailed notebook along the way, all leading up to a project to be completed in the last few days. We travelled towards Costa Adeje, where the highway met the tourist area, it was a perfect base for our activities.
Every night we went out in the evening to do our own thing and quickly found what Costa Adeje had to offer: restaurants, bars, shopping outlets, karaoke and mini golf! We know exactly where to visit if we go back for a holiday!
The main attraction on the second day was Mount Teide, one of the highest volcanoes in the world, and the heart of Tenerife. It is a shame we couldn’t get to the top but walking around the caldera you could see the geological events unfold before your eyes. This was a huge contrast to the tourist area we called our home for 5 days.
Travelling around the island you could see the distinct differences between the North and the South of the island, especially in the weather. You could be wearing a bikini and be warm in the south but needed leggings and a hoodie in the north. This was mainly due to the thicker cloud cover and our altitudinal position.
All the information that we had been given while travelling around the island was useful to inform our projects. We were to investigate whether pine tree needle size changed with altitude. We quickly realised that temperature changed massively with altitude, once again experiencing the various micro climates the island had to offer.
Projects were completed with groups we chose ourselves. I only knew 2 girls well that I worked with – the others were practically strangers, but we seemed to gel quickly and work really well together, to measure 400 pine needles in 4 different locations in around 5 hours to gain an impressive set of results ready to analyse at home. I didn’t know measuring pine needles while you were so high you could see clouds in front of your face could be so fun! But I had a great time and learnt to use new equipment.
Abbie collecting pine needle data
After an exhausting day of collecting data the last day was upon us, and the hottest day yet. Everyone had collected their data so we ventured out to a small town near the harbour. The town showed us a different side to Tenerife in contrast to the pine forests we had seen and was a chance for our last meal with our field trip family.
The difference between learning on a fieldtrip and learning in a lecture theatre at university is astonishing. I don’t think I have ever been more focused or intrigued in the information I had to retrieve. In 5 days, I learnt so much and made new friends who share similar interests to me. I would recommend this field trip to anyone, I was dreading going but I had an amazing week, that benefited me both personally and professionally.
Thank you to the lecturers for making the trip unforgettable