Science Writing Competition 2020
Over the summer, boys in Year 7 were set the challenge of a Science Writing competition. Entries were invited in two categories: science fiction short stories and nature-writing.
A large number of entries were submitted, and Head of Science, Dr Leslie, and Head of English, Mr Wood, had the tough job of judging the range of creative and unique submissions. Entries were judged in terms of their scientific understanding and literary merit. Runners up were Sam Dhir, Jeevan Bharj and Lucas Ramus with their science fiction stories, but the winner was Thomas Easterbrook, with a composition about Holtspur Bank Nature Reserve.
Congratulations to all who entered.
Holtspur Bank Nature Reserve
Through the cool morning air rings the rich, mellifluous song of the blackbird. Like sweet honey, its notes flow joyfully across the hillside. Joined by the virulent songs of song thrush, the robin and the wren, the dawn chorus floats in all its glory above this chalk meadow. It is a wonder that nature has perfected this art through evolution for such practical purposes as defending territory and attracting a mate.
Overhead, melenargia galathea dances, like a petal blowing in the gentle breeze. Streaking down its pearl-white wing, waves of black give this butterfly its common name, marbled white. Lightly, it settles on a garish lilac-pink knapweed flower and begins siphoning nectar from deep in amongst the disc florets that protrude from the flowerhead.
As the sun advances towards its zenith, the stridulations of grasshoppers begin to fill the air. The intermittent buzz of bees wings as they progress from flower to flower joins the hum of life that fills the atmosphere on this hillside.
Overhead, majestic red kites swoop hunting their prey using the thermals created by the warm midday sun. Their forked tails act as rudders, guiding them through the air as they search for their quarry. Their copper-red bodies and fingered wings make them a magnificent sight.
Then comes our largest falcon, the peregrine, its streaky white underside just visible as it stoops in pursuit of a collared dove. Peregrines have been known to reach 200 miles an hour when diving, making the the fastest known organism on earth.
Sunny-coloured swathes of cowslips carpet the floor. The rosettes of tube-like flowers, clustered together at the top of their upright green stems are a frequent stop for feeding bees.
The joyful river of song of the skylark burbles on into the evening as it floats through the air, accompanied by the screeching call of the swifts as they rush across the sky. Low over the ground, the swallow flies, catching insects as the day cools. Soon, Holtspur bank Nature Reserve is once again quiet.
By Thomas Easterbrook
Photo credits: Thomas Easterbrook