The destination of our field trip was not very far away from or school but nevertheless we had the opportunity to experience a different world concerning the climate and vegetation. Of course, the guided tour through the Tropics was in English!
As soon as we entered the greenhouses of the tropical rainforest, we noticed the humid and sweltry air. At first, our guide showed us the different layers of the tropical rainforest and plants like pineapple and banana trees. She made an experiment to demonstrate the tricks plants use to either save water in dry surroundings or to shake it off their leaves (Lotus Effect) in extremely humid areas with a yearly precipitation of over 1400 mm. We even had the chance to taste the origin of our favourite “food” – i.e. chocolate. Our guide opened a big cocoa bean for us and we all ate a piece of it, which tasted bittersweet. The next assignment was to find “political plants” and to explain their “political” background. One example of many was cotton as it is grown in dry and hot surroundings but which needs a lot of irrigation water.
We also learned about the bamboo – a sustainable plant- as it grows very fast and which is even used as building material. At the end of our tropical rainforest tour, we were glad to return to the temperate climate of Erlangen where we cooled off in the Neischl Cave – an artificial cave that is a replica of a typical element of the Franconian Jura – the dripstone cave with its stalagmites and stalactites. Overall, a very interesting and informative field trip that gave us insight into a complete different geographical world.