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Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

Experience Engage Enable

Telephone02 9816 1298

Schoolyard safari program

Teacher checklist

Main Location

Field of Mars Reserve, Pittwater Road, East Ryde

Wallumedegal Country

Google maps - Apple maps

Supply bus driver with Field of Mars Reserve bus information

No bus entry into Field of Mars Reserve.

Field of Mars Reserve risk management plan

View the YouTube track overview videos.

Buffalo Creek track

Doyle and Warada loop track

Alternate location

Buffalo Creek Reserve, 117 Pittwater Road, Hunters Hill

Wallumedegal Country

Google maps - Apple maps

Supply bus driver with Buffalo Creek bus information.

No bus entry into Buffalo Creek Reserve carpark.

Buffalo Creek Reserve risk management plan

View the YouTube track overview videos.

Sugarloaf Point loop track


DoE $24 per student - GST free

Non-gov school $34 per student - GST free, minimum charge $700

Term 1 - Catholic school Weeks 3 to 7 cost = DoE cost - GST free, minimum charge $700

Covid COVID-19 safety plan

Participants will be bushwalking during the day in rugged terrain.

Limited wheelchair accessibility. Email to confirm with location.

This excursion may not be suitable for people who have recently been unwell.


Backpack, medication, low-waste food, water bottle, sunblock, raincoat, hat, sturdy shoes.

Students wear reusable name tag and sports uniform.

Please provide Two tote trays per class to transport your clay models back to school.

Preparing for an excursion

Supporting resources

Student activities

Social story – Schoolyard safari - written for Field of Mars Reserve

Invertebrate Explorer - available free from Apple Books

Fact sheets

Bin access

All student waste to be taken home by students.

Parent/carer helpers Optional one parent per class, no siblings. Closed shoes essential. 
Medical or special needs

Notify Field of Mars staff prior to excursion. 

Students, staff and visitors must not attend if unwell, even with mild symptoms. 

Extreme or wet weather

Days predicted to be above 35ºC, high winds, extreme bush fire danger and dust storms may result in the excursion being modified, postponed or cancelled. 


Cancellations with less than four school weeks' notice will incur a $500 administration fee. This does not apply to cancellations due to weather or fire danger.

Suggested timetable for up to six classes


Classes A, B, C

Classes D, E, F

9.45 - 10.30

Introduction, recess and toilets

Introduction, recess and toilets

10.30 - 12.00
Invertebrate investigations
12.00 - 12.30



12.30 - 2.00
Invertebrate investigations


2.00 - 2.15

Pack up, toilets and depart

Pack up, toilets and depart

Learning activities 

Students will investigate where small animals and invertebrates live in the bush, and what their features are.

Inquiry questions

  • Where do invertebrates and small vertebrate animals live?

  • What are the features of invertebrate and small vertebrate animals?



On a bushwalk traversing a variety of environments, students will observe the different places in the natural environment that invertebrates are found. Many invertebrate species will remain hidden during the walk, so particular emphasis will be placed on looking for animal evidence such as tracks, scats and sounds.

Build a bug 

The session will be introduced with the picture book The Ugly Bug. Students will then work in small groups to undertake tree shake surveys that dislodge invertebrates from the foliage of shrubs for collection and observation. Students will use paper clay to create small clay models of invertebrates based on their observations of the collected invertebrates, embedded invertebrate specimens, and The Ugly Bug illustrations.

Invertebrate investigation

Students will work in small groups to search for and collect leaf litter invertebrates in the gardens surrounding the Field of Mars education centre. Collected specimens will then be examined for their structural features using personal magnifiers, and identified using ID charts. Some of the collected invertebrates will be magnified onto the IWB and features and adaptations will be explained.

Syllabus outcomes and content

Science and technology K-6 Syllabus (2017) 


A student:

  • observes, questions and collects data to communicate and compare ideas ST1-1WS-S 
  • describes observable features of living things and their environments ST1-4LW-S 


Working Scientifically


  • explore and answer questions through participation in guided scientific investigations
  • compare observations with those of others
  • make safe choices when using materials and equipment

External features of living things


  • describe the external features of a variety of living things

Living things live in different places


  • identify that living things live in different places that suit their needs

Other syllabus links

Learning experiences will also support but not explicitly teach the following outcomes and content.

Geography K-10 Syllabus (2015) 


A student:

  • describes features of places and the connections people have with places GE1-1 
  • communicates geographical information and uses geographical tools for inquiry GE1-3 


Features of places


  • investigate features of places and how they can be cared for, for example: 

  • description of the natural and human features of places

  • consideration of how a place can be cared for

Curriculum note - this excursion is aligned with the language, learning models and experiences of the Primary Connections Stage 1 unit Schoolyard Safari.

Science and Technology K-6 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2017

Geography K-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2015