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Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

Experience Engage Enable

Telephone02 9816 1298

Earth's resources 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 $700

Risk assessment

Risk management plan

COVID-19 safety plan


View the YouTube track overview videos.

Strangers Creek loop track

Doyle and Warada track


Participants will be bushwalking during the 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.


Backpack, clipboards, pencil, pen, medication, low-waste food, water bottle, sunblock, wet weather gear, hat, sports uniform, sturdy shoes. 

There are no shops near the study site.

Student devices

This program relies on students bringing their own mobile devices for photography and video-making.

Please inform us if your school has a no-phone rule.


Preparing for an excursion

Fieldwork data collection

Soil texture, pH and temperature

14 fieldwork techniques in 4.5 minutes

Supporting resources

Student worksheet

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 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

The suggested timetable is suitable for up to two classses.



9.45 - 10.00 Introduction at centre
10.00 - 10.15 Recess
10.15 - 10.45 Select equipment and travel to sites
10.45 - 12.30 Sites 1 and 2 
12.30 - 1.15 Sites 3 and 4
1.45 - 2.15 Lunch at centre
1.45 - 2.15 Management discussion and conclusion
2.15 Depart

Learning activities

Introduction – Field of Mars classroom

This session will introduce students to the Field of Mars Reserve, the geomorphology of the local environment, the classification and composition of local rocks and soils, past and contemporary human activities and their associated impacts, relevant environmental management issues, relevant secondary resources, and the purpose of the fieldwork and the day’s activities. 

Prepare for fieldwork – Field of Mars classroom

The students form small groups, identify variables and choose equipment to collect fieldwork data from study sites in several locations in the Field of Mars Reserve.

Conduct fieldwork – Field of Mars Reserve

Site 1 – Coastal Sandstone Gully Forest and Site 2 – Turpentine Ironbark Margin Forest

Students test and record biotic and abiotic factors of each site including lithology, dominant species, vegetation structure, and soil texture classification.

Sites 3 – Ridgetop Woodland

Students examine the Hawkesbury sandstone landscape and relate vegetation communities found there to the geology and lithology of the area.

Students also identify human impacts.

Optional: Students may also test and record biotic and abiotic factors as per Sites 1 and 2. Please discuss with Field of Mars staff before your excursion to organise.

Site 4 – Disturbed sediments adjacent to Buffalo Creek

Students construct a flowchart of human impacts and subsequent managment strategies.

Optional: Students may also conduct water quality testing, and/or examine the presence of introduced species in the area which take advantage of human impacts. Please discuss with Field of Mars staff before your excursion to organise.

Conclusion – Field of Mars classroom

Students process and analyse qualitative and quantitative fieldwork data to identify trends and patterns, and draw conclusions in answer to the inquiry questions. 

Next steps toward possible depth studies may be discussed.

Syllabus outcomes and content

Earth and Environmental Science Stage 6  Syllabus (2017)

Module 1 Earth's Resources


A student:

  • conducts investigations to collect valid and reliable primary and secondary data and information EES11/12-3

  •  selects and processes appropriate qualitative and quantitative data and information using a range of appropriate media EES11/12-4

  • analyses and evaluates primary and secondary data and information EES11/12-5

  • describes the key features of the Earth’s systems, including the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere and how they are interrelated EES11-8

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