Truro College students have trip of a lifetime in Honduras 16 students, consisting of first and second years, packed up their bags to spend two weeks working with a conservation charity in Honduras and it was an unforgettable experience.

Going through Operation Wallacea, a registered conservation charity who have been working in Honduras for over 15 years, ensured that the students experienced first-hand what environmental conservation is like. A key factor as many of them were looking at similar areas for university.

The first week was spent in Cusuco National Park. Students contributed to the conservation effort by conducting habitat and biodiversity surveys. Because of the forest’s altitude, it’s completely separated from other areas within Honduras. The students used mist nets to trap, measure, weigh and release birds and bats, light trapping to capture data on moths that were indicators of the health of the ecosystem, and recorded all reptiles and amphibians they came across.

For those who favoured heights, students took to the trees in canopy access training with a company that took Sir David Attenborough himself into the rooftop of the forest. This took them high into the canopy in harnesses and was a truly jaw-dropping experience. Indeed, each day was a brand new and varied experience, with each activity providing a new skill or area of knowledge.

The students lived in two camps during their time in the forest. One was located deep in the core zone, which was real, primary forest. The efforts of the conservation charity hit home while staying there, as they could hear chainsaws in the distance, a stark contrast to the pristine environment they were in.

The students’ second week was spent on an island off of the Caribbean coast called Roatan. While during the second week they weren’t able to contribute as much to the conservation effort themselves, they were able to learn in more depth how to conserve the coral reefs. During their time they contributed to the coral watch survey to see the amount of bleaching and damage done to the corals, while learning how to assess the reef.

Snorkelling and scuba diving brought the students up close to the wildlife they were there to protect. As the students stayed in a very well protected marine zone, they were amongst an incredible variety of wildlife, swimming with green turtles, hawksbill turtles, spotted eagle rays and much more during their time on Roatan.

“The students were amazing,” began Lowenna Bradley, programme team leader for science. “They got so much out of the trip. We are so proud of them. They grew a lot, not just in terms of the scientific understanding of the conservation effort but in terms of personal development.”

Some of the students did some fundraising before the trip to help with trip costs, such as a Honduran themed evening at Spires. These fundraising efforts won them a bursary of £1000 towards the trip. This money could have been spent on anything for the trip but the students very kindly donated one third of it to the local school in Honduras.

It was clear to all that the trip was a monumental success, with everyone returning home with enough stories to last the year. We hope to continue these trips as they are an incredible opportunity to those interested in STEM and Biology in particular.