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Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

Experience Engage Enable

Telephone02 9816 1298

Earth’s natural systems - 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

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

Earth's natural systems fieldwork support - Google site

Fieldwork techniques

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 - 10.45

Arrival and introduction at Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre 

Activity 1 - Meet a tree

10.45 - 11.00 Recess and toilets

11.00 - 1.00

Activity 2 - Guided investigation of the Eucalypt forest - abiotic and biotic testing

Activity 3 - Data analysis and communication task - processes, cycles and circulations

1.00 - 1.30

Lunch at the Field of Mars Reserve

1.30 - 2.00

Activity 4 - Self-directed investigation of the Eucalypt forest
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 characteristics and functioning of the natural systems in a forest environment will be asked and data will be collected using different fieldwork and sampling techniques. This data will be analysed to identify the processes, cycles and circulations that shape the forest environment. Conclusions are made on how connections between natural systems influence the establishment of vegetation communities at the Field of Mars Reserve.

Inquiry questions

  • What are the characteristics of the ecological, atmospheric, hydrological and geomorphic systems that make up the eucalypt forest at the Field of Mars Reserve?
  • How do natural processes, cycles and circulations influence primary productivity of the eucalyptus forest at the Field of Mars Reserve?
  • How do people value and connect with nature in an urban setting?


Activity 1 - Introduction and meet a tree 

Students will assemble at the centre and be introduced to the fieldwork inquiry questions for the day. 

Students are introduced to common keystone tree species found in the eucalypt forest at the Field of Mars Reserve. Students will learn nature journaling techniques as a means for observing and recording the features of a tree, and understanding the processes and cycles involved in its functioning as a primary producer.

Activity 2 - Guided investigation of the Eucalypt forest 

Students will visit the dry sclerophyll eucalypt forest and use a range of sampling methodologies and fieldwork instruments to collect primary data on abiotic and biotic factors characterising the four natural systems (atmospheric, hydrological, geomorphic, ecological) including temperature, humidity, soil characteristics, soil moisture, soil depth, slope, and vegetation abundance and growth. 

Activity 3 - Data analysis and communication task

Students will be guided through an interpretation of their results for each site to identify the key processes, cycles and circulations connecting natural systems in the forest. Graphic organisers will be used to facilitate students in communicating their geographical understanding.

Activity 4 - Self-directed investigation

Students will plan their own fieldwork investigation comparing the productivity of different forest types found within the eucalypt forest. Sources such as maps and spatial data will be examined to stimulate student inquiry.  Students refine their skills in using fieldwork instruments and sampling methodologies as they carry out their investigation in the wet sclerophyll eucalypt forest.

Supporting resources

View the Earth's natural systems - Eucalypt forest at the Field of Mars Reserve Google site for:

  • Supporting secondary resources
  • Pre-fieldwork and post-fieldwork activities
  • Fieldwork preparation information

Syllabus outcomes and content

Geography 11–12 Syllabus (2022) 


  • examines places, environments and natural and human phenomena, for their characteristics, spatial patterns, interactions and changes over time GE-11-01
  • explains geographical processes and influences, at a range of scales, that form and transform places and environments GE-11-02
  • analyses and synthesises relevant geographical information from a variety of sources GE-11-05
  • identifies geographical methods used in geographical inquiry and their relevance in the contemporary world GE-11-06
  • applies geographical inquiry skills and tools, including spatial technologies, fieldwork, and ethical practices, to investigate places and environments GE-11-07
  • applies mathematical ideas and techniques to analyse geographical data GE-11-08
  • communicates and applies geographical understanding, using geographical knowledge, concepts, terms and tools, in appropriate forms GE-11-09


Overview of the uniqueness and diversity of the Earth

  • Nature as a source of wonder

  • People’s connection to the natural world and why it can vary

Processes, cycles and circulations connecting natural systems

  • Characteristics of Earth’s natural systems and factors affecting their functioning

  • The processes, cycles and circulations connecting natural systems, including atmospheric systems, hydrological systems, geomorphic systems and ecological systems

Geography 11–12 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2022