We have just had a 'brown roof' built in our new school building. It is a wild garden grown on aggregates which students and teachers have access to and can work on. I would like to build activities using the resource into the curriculum for next year. We teach KS2-KS5. Do you have any ideas for projects that would like in with OCR GCSE and OCR A-Level science?
The idea behind the roof was that so many of the waste lands in Hackney were being developed some rare bird species that had adapted to live on these site would have no habitat so the roof recreates this wild waste land. Ecology is not my specialism and would be grateful of any ideas.
We found the website http://livingroofs.org very interesting. There are many useful articles archived there and a wealth of information in the various sections.
This page is particularly useful: http://livingroofs.org/20110502300/world-green-roof-policies/history-of-green-roofs-in-london.html
I had not realised that this was such an exciting area of developing applied ecology. I found the 'future prospect' of 'green' London rooves round the
Gherkin (see last photo) quite exciting.
Collecting seeds and plants from existing wasteland areas and deliberately introducing plants to some roof areas is one suggestion. i.e. a field recording trip to wasteland, collection of data and plants/seed and then planting the same on a new roof.
It would be good to couple this with matching controls, where nothing was introduced, so that succession on the roof might be observed. I would make these big introduction plots at least 4 m X 4 m so that smaller quadrats (0.5 X 0.5) could be sampled by students from within them.
Clearly, it will be useful to build up a record of the plants (and insects?) which you find on your roof. I guess with the roof now being over 2 years old, you may have missed the initial wave of first plants to become established and the natural succession is well under way. However, it will be several years before the vegetation settles down and you should be able to trace some plants becoming dominant with others being squeezed out as succession takes place. So it is time to start keeping records. This will give you opportunity to teach sampling techniques (quadrats, transects etc) on your own territory. I wonder whether you can get help to build up a named list of the plants present on your roof (with photographs) to enable students to readily identify the species which are present? (At this stage, the number of different species may be small.)
The website above (for example) should enable you to illustrate the value of conservation and biodiversity with your own roof as a practical example.
I don't know whether CAM metabolism is part of your A level syllabus, but to have some Sedum and Sempervivum growing in a part of your roof could be most interesting to be able to compare the growth over time with normal (C3) plants already established and for students to have such living examples of the plants and their relative growth and survival could make useful demonstrations (I suspect your roof may become very dry some summers which is why these plants are often used).