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Greening Australia hosts students at midlands biodiversity hotspot

Students from Hellyer and Don Colleges joined 160 others from around the state in Tasmania’s northern midlands, a national biodiversity hotspot, for a Geography field day hosted by Greening Australia on Friday, 5 August.

The field day at Connorville gave the Geography year 11 and 12 students an opportunity to study the connections between people, places and environments by contributing to Greening Australia‘s Island Ark project, a large scale environmental restoration program creating two wildlife corridors across the midlands.

Lachlan Roberts, Gerard Leary and Heidi Bond from Hellyer College inspect a two year old tree at the Greening Australia Connorville restoration site Lachlan Roberts, Gerard Leary and Heidi Bond from Hellyer College inspect a two year old tree at the Greening Australia Connorville restoration site

Greening Australia’s Tasmanian education director Nel Smit says the field day, which was preceded by classroom based seminars, was an ideal way of learning about key geographic concepts and then putting them into action.

“The field day was a powerful experience for the pre-tertiary students. It gave them the opportunity to work beside UTAS students on practical challenges using their geography skills. Each student planted some trees on the day which will mark their contribution for decades to come,” said Ms. Smit.

“Getting just about all the pre-tertiary Geography students from around Tasmania together in the one location has been fantastic as was seeing the strong partnership that has developed between the landholder, Roderic O’Connor and Greening Australia.

“Taking the students from the classroom into the field has given them a unique insight into the study of geography, the environment and how landscape restoration projects need to adapt to climate change. It also provided students with an insider’s look into careers such as environmental management and Geographic Information Systems,” said Ms. Smit.

The students were tutored by UTAS researchers and Greening Australia’s world renowned restoration ecologist, Dr. Neil Davidson.

Hellyer College teacher Gerard Leary said the field day gave the students an opportunity to put things into perspective.

“It’s valuable for students to see the actual landscape restoration work being done in the field and actively participate in authentic onground research.”

Student Heidi Bond agreed, saying “it was great to see the restoration work making a real difference and how farmers are so supportive.”

The field day also included a photographic competition where students competed for the best Tweet and Facebook photo to win passes for trips on Pennicott Wilderness Journeys’ Bruny Island experience.

The event was supported by the John Roberts Charitable Trust.