On one of the coldest days of the winter to date, Year 4 were lucky enough to escape the freezing conditions when they travelled to a rainforest. Not the Amazon Rainforest they have been studying in Geography, sadly, but rather the Living Rainforest near Newbury! We all enjoyed stripping off coats, hats and scarves on arrival to enter into a warmer, beautiful world of bromeliads, epiphytes and sloths who all enjoy the hot and humid conditions there.
See the photos here
The tour guides were wonderful, filling our heads with amazing facts about flora and fauna, that are clearly beautifully cared for there. We enjoyed learning how both plants and animals have adapted to cope with the specific conditions within rainforests. For instance, everyone was stunned to see the huge pacu fish who have adapted to their human-like diet (they are omnivores like us) with human-like teeth. Many of us grimaced when we saw the salmon-pink bird eating spider (which turned out to be black and only eats insects!) who had an extremely huge and hairy body. The hairs are extremely poisonous so act as a warning to potential predators. We particularly loved meeting Cinnamon, the shy sloth, who has adapted brilliant camouflage thanks to the algae that lives on her skin. Her slowness is another way she has adapted to ensure she is not easily seen by predators.
Plants have also adapted with many having ‘drip tip’ ends to ensure the smooth run-off of water. The Swiss cheese plant’s holey leaves allow the vast amounts of rain in a rainforest to drip through to the soil and they also allow sunlight through to lower leaves. Similarly, banana plants have gutter drain veins through the centre of their leaves to deal with the rain and both plants have adapted to cope with high winds too. The holes in the holey plant allows the wind to race through without damaging it and banana leaves rip easily to ensure the wind does not damage the whole plant.
Thanks to our fantastic visit, we are all now as knowledgeable as David Attenborough on rainforest plant and animal adaptations. Are you? If not, we recommend a visit to The Living Rainforest in Newbury.
Mrs Jane Williams
Year 4 Teacher