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Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

Experience Engage Enable

Telephone02 9816 1298

Biophysical interactions - forests program

Teacher checklist


Field of Mars Reserve, Pittwater Road, East Ryde

Wallumedegal Country

Google maps - Apple maps

Bus access

Supply bus driver with Field of Mars Reserve bus information

No bus entry into Field of Mars Reserve.


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

View the YouTube track overview videos

Buffalo Creek track

Doyle and Warada loop track

Strangers Creek loop track


Participants will be bushwalking all day in rugged terrain.


Limited wheelchair accessibility.

This excursion may not be suitable for people who have recently been 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
Worksheet The worksheet is available for view at the time of booking.
Supporting resources

Biophysical interactions - virtual site study

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

Arrival and introduction at Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre 

10.00 - 10.20 Recess and toilets

10.30 - 11.30

Activity 1 - Investigating the Coastal Enriched Sandstone Dry Forest

11.30 - 12.30

Activity 2 - Investigating the Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest

12.30 - 1.00

Lunch at Tyrell Park

1.00 - 2.00

Activity 3 - Investigating human interactions

2.00 - 2.15

Conclusion and depart

Learning activities

Students will work in small groups to undertake geographic inquiry in the field.

Geographic questions that focus on the nature and functioning of the four spheres will be asked and data will be collected using different fieldwork techniques.  Conclusions are made on how different biophysical interactions influence the different vegetation communities.  

Students locate evidence of human interactions with the biophysical environment at the Field of Mars Reserve and investigate the impact of human activity on the four spheres. Recognising human impacts on the functioning of the environments informs the actions required for sustainable managment.

Inquiry questions

What are the biophysical interactions which influence the different vegetation communities at the Field of Mars Reserve?

How do people impact the functioning of the four spheres of the biophysical environment in the Field of Mars Reserve?


Introduction - Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

Students will assemble at the centre and be introduced to the day’s fieldwork investigations. Sources such as plans of management, maps and spatial data will be examined to stimulate student inquiry. Students will be guided through the planning process for fieldwork investigations including ethical considerations, equipment and methodologies and preparing for outdoor activities. 

Activity 1 - Coastal Enriched Sandstone Dry Forest

Students will use scientific equipment and observation to identify abiotic and biotic factors of the forest. The effects of these biophysical factors on the establishment of the vegetation community will be examined. Conclusions will be drawn that recognise the interactions between the different components of the biophysical environment.

Activity 2 - Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest

Students repeat testing in this second site to compare and contrast the nature and interactions that occur in the different vegetation communities.

Activity 3 - Human interactions

Students will go an exploratory scavenger hunt to identify and observe various management issues affecting the reserve. Students will use mobile apps to examine the human interactions which led to these issues, investigate how these interactions impact the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and/or atmosphere, and locate the position and extent of these impacts.

Syllabus outcomes and content

Geography Stage 6 Syllabus (2009) 


A student:

  • 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