Hartpury student Jess carries out research into elephant behaviour


Ever wondered how elephants communicate with one another? Hartpury College student Jess Griffith has the answers.

Jess, who is studying a Level Three Animal Management Diploma at Hartpury, has been carrying out independent research about the popular pachyderms for a CREST Award project.

Over the past 12 months, she has researched how elephants communicate through the sounds they make, the way they stand and by using their feet to pick up vibrations carried through the ground, known as seismic communication.

Previously, she had worked as a volunteer alongside elephant keepers at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Bristol.

As part of the project, Jess has had to research and interview teachers to find out how children learn so that she can justify the method she has chosen in presenting her work.

After completing her research, she presented her results to a class of schoolchildren at Bridstow CE Primary School in Ross-on-Wye, where she lives.

“I have always liked elephants and when I received the project I decided I’d like to put something together that I’d enjoy doing,” she said.

“I don’t know a lot about elephant communication, so I thought, ‘Let’s go for it!

“I carried out a variety of research covering African and Asian elephants and how they communicate, like the sounds and the postures they use and through seismic communication.

“I had to tailor my findings for a primary school, so I produced a child-friendly PowerPoint presentation using illustrations and sounds from the well knows Disney film ‘The Jungle Book’.

“I found the project really interesting – I’m really glad I chose to do it – and the children seemed to enjoy the presentation.

“For me, it was an excellent opportunity to do carry out research independently, enhance my time management skills and improve my presentation skills.”

The CREST Awards scheme is the British Science Association’s flagship programme for young people.

It is the only nationally recognised accreditation scheme for STEM project work (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), boosting students’ applications for university and their job prospects.

Picture: Jess Griffith (right) at Noah's Ark

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