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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

Wallumedegal Country

Finish - Magdala Park, Magdala Rd, East Ryde

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Wallumedegal Country

Bus access

Private bus information

Buffalo Creek Reserve bus information

Magdala Park bus information

No bus entry into Buffalo Creek Reserve carpark.

Please contact the centre for public transport and school minibus options


DoE $25 per student - GST free

Non-gov school cost $35 per student - GST free, minimum charge $600

Risk assessment  Risk management plan

COVID-19 safety plan

Watch the YouTube track overview video.

Buffalo Creek Reserve to Magdala Park


Participants will be bushwalking all day in rugged terrain.

Not wheelchair accessible.

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, 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
Worksheet The worksheet is available for view at the time of booking.
Supporting resources Fact sheets
Bin access All student waste to be taken home by students.
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 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



9.30 - 10.00

Arrive and introduction at Buffalo Creek Reserve

10.00 - 11.30

Activity 1 - Investigating the mangrove environment

11.30 - 11.50

Recess at Buffalo Creek Reserve (toilets)

12.00 - 1.15

Activity 2 - Investigating intertidal wetlands

12.00 - 1.15

Activity 3 - Investigating human impacts

1.30 - 2.00

Lunch at Magdala Park (toilets)

2.00 - 2.15

Conclusions and depart

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 work 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 activities and climate variations on the functioning of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere?


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 - The Great North Walk

Following the Lane Cove River from Buffalo Creek to Magdala Park students explore human impacts on biophyscial processes including alterations in sediment trapping, water quality and the urban water cycle and impacts from anthropogenic climate change including flood events and sea level rise.  

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)
  • formulates a plan for active geographical inquiry (P7)
  • 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)
  • applies mathematical ideas and techniques to analyse geographical data (P10)
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