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Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

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Biophysical interactions - intertidal wetlands program

Teacher checklist


Start - Buffalo Creek Reserve, 117 Pittwater Rd, Hunters Hill

Google maps - Apple maps

Finish - Magdala Park, Magdala Rd, East Ryde

Google mapsApple maps

Wallumedegal Country

Bus access Supply bus driver with -

Buffalo Creek Reserve bus information

Magdala Park bus information

No bus entry into Buffalo Creek Reserve carpark.

DoE $24 per student - GST free

Non-gov school cost $34 per student - GST free minimum charge $600

Risk assessment  Risk management plan

Covid safety plan

Watch the YouTube track overview video.

Buffalo Creek Reserve to Magdala Park

Welfare Participants will be bushwalking all day in rugged terrain. This excursion may not be suitable for people who have been recently unwell. Toilets are only available at the beginning and end of the day.
Bring Writing materials, mobile device for audiovisual recording, medications, low-waste food, two water bottles, sunblock, hat and raincoat in a backpack. Sports uniform recommended. There are no shops.
View Preparing for an excursion
Supporting resources Available on confirmation of booking
Bin access All student waste to be taken home by students.
Medical or special needs

Notify Field of Mars staff prior to excursion. 

Sick students or adults to stay at home.

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 Cancellations with less than three school weeks notice will incur a $500 administration fee. This does not apply to cancellations due to weather, fire danger or COVID-19 restrictions.

Suggested timetable



9.45 - 10.00

Arrive and introduction at Buffalo Creek Reserve (toilets)

10.00 - 11.30 Site 1 - Investigating the mangrove environment
11.30 - 11.50

Recess at Buffalo Creek Reserve (toilets)

12.00 - 12.45

Site 2 - Investigating the saltmarsh

12.45 - 1.15 Site 3 - Investigating human impacts
1.30 - 2.00

Lunch at Magdala Park (toilets)

2.00 - 2.15 Conclusions and depart from Magdala Park

Learning activities 

This fieldwork investigation examines the interactions that take place in the intertidal zone and the effects of human impacts and climate variations. Students collaboratively to collect data in TWO locations within the intertidal zone along the Lane Cove River.

Inquiry question

  • How do the components of the biophysical environment interact in intertidal wetlands and what are the effects of human impacts and climate variations on their functioning?


Site 1 - Buffalo Creek boardwalk

Students will investigate the interactions of the four spheres in the mangrove forest located in the intertidal zone of Buffalo Creek. Field techniques incorporating systematic sampling with quadrats along a transect will be used. Biotic and abiotic factors are measured and an examination of mangrove tree adaptive features conducted. 

Site 2 - Kitty’s Creek

Kitty’s Creek runs through East Ryde and flows into the Lane Cove River estuary. The intertidal zone contains mangroves and the ecologically endangered saltmarsh community. Students will use a transect to identify and measure biotic and abiotic factors and conduct a vegetation profile to examine plant zonation in the intertidal zone. 

Site 3 - Kitty’s Creek

Students examine the impacts of people's activities on the hydrosphere and how this affects the lithosphere and biosphere. A survey of native and weed species and water quality testing is conducted. Students use their knowledge of biophysical processes and human impacts to predict future changes in the Kitty’s Creek intertidal wetland. 

Conclusion - Magdala Park

Stepping into the role of an environmental advisor, students will analyse fieldwork data to present findings on the nature and functioning of the intertidal wetland environment and the changes caused by human impacts.

Syllabus outcomes and content

Geography Stage 6 Syllabus (2009)


  • describes the interactions between the four components (atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, biosphere) which define the biophysical environment (P2)

  • explains how a specific environment functions in terms of biophysical factors (P3)

  • identifies the vocational relevance of a geographical perspective (P6)

  • selects, organises and analyses relevant geographical information from (a variety of sources) the direct observations in the fieldwork (P8)

  • uses maps, graphs and statistics, photographs and fieldwork to conduct geographical enquiries (P9)

Geography Stage 6 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2009