River and wetlands ecosystems

River and wetlands ecosystems
  • Duration: 4 Hours (approx.)

Years 7 - 10

The wetlands and rivers of the Swan Coastal Plain have been significantly affected by human–induced change; yet these ecosystems are still an important part of the biodiversity of the region. This excursion enables students to undertake a range of field tasks to assess the living and non-living components of these ecosystems with either a Biology or Geography focus. Students explore key concepts related to ecosystem structure and function such as feeding relationships and energy flow, ecosystem services and challenges to sustainability. You can adapt the excursion to your specific needs through your selection of optional activities. 

Core activities; do both:

Site survey
The site survey gives students on overview of the ecosystem being studied and is an excellent introduction to the site. Students record observations on a range of ecosystem components such as plant life, animal activity, water appearance, condition of banks, drains and pipes, and human activity and impact. Each 
component is scored according to students’ perception and an initial indication of the quality of the environment is obtained. This is used to focus students thinking on the questions they will seek to answer from the following field work.

Science, HASS, Priorities - Sust Duration – 1 Hour

Water quality testing
In small groups students will collect water samples according to standard protocols and conduct water quality tests using field equipment. Parameters measured include: temperature, pH, Electrical Conductivity (salinity), Turbidity (clarity) and the nutrien
ts Phosphate and Nitrate. Students’ results will be compared to Australian guidelines to assess the health of the waterbody.

Science, HASS, Priorities - Sust Duration – 1 Hour

Optional activities; select 90 minutes worth of activities from:

Macroinvertebrate sampling (60 mins)
Wetland invertebrates can give an indication of the health of the ecosystem through their species diversity and abundance and through the presence / absence of sensitive species. Students sort and analyse a sample to classify and record the organisms. This can lead to a discussion of feeding relationships and the food web of the wetland.

Science, HASS, Priorities - Sust Duration – 1 Hour

Map interpretation and field sketch (30 mins)

A topographic map or aerial photograph of the site is used for students to label features on the ground. They then complete a field sketch of the site with notes on the various components (such as land use) to summarise information about the site.

HASS
Duration 
– 30 minutes

Bird identification (30 mins)
Our rivers and wetlands are home to a very diverse array of bird speicies of all shapes and sizes. Students use binoculars to observe and identify what birds are present at your site; they then consider their role in the aquatic ecosystem.

Science, HASS, Priorities - Sust Duration – 30 minutes

Human Impacts (30 mins)
Human impacts can be positive or negative. Students observe what impacts humans have had on this site and consider their consequences for the ecosystem. We look at how positive impacts can be enhanced to ensure the site is cared for into the future.

Science, HASS, Priorities - Sust Duration – 30 minutes

Management Strategies (30 mins)
A walk around the site to look at the various management strategies that are in place and a discussion to consider their effectiveness. Students also consider what else may be needed in future for the sustainability of this ecosystem.

HASS, Priorities - Sust Duration – 30 minutes

Science (7,9), HASS (7,9,10)


COST: $16.50 per student (minimum payment for 20 students)

Excursion runs from 10am to 2pm including time for morning tea and lunch. Groups arrive at 10 am then have 15-20 minutes for morning tea, activities commence after morning tea. Finish times can be adjusted to your needs.

Venues:

  • River - Pt Walter 
  • River - Canning River Eco Education Centre

Please note:

  1. Maximum students per group is 30. Multiple groups can be accommodated.
  2. Our booking officer will get back to you via email to confirm your excursion within 7 working days.