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Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

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Ecosystems at risk - The Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest program

Teacher checklist


Field of Mars Reserve, 220 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.


2023 DoE $25 per student - GST free

2023 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


Participants will be bushwalking during the day in rugged terrain.

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, medication, low-waste food, water bottle, sunblock, raincoat, hat, sturdy shoes, mask.

There are no shops near the study site.

Student devices

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

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

View Preparing for an excursion
Supporting resources

Available on confirmation of booking

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 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 - 10.15

Introduction at the Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre
10.15 - 10.30 Recess (toilets)
10.45 - 12.45

Sites 1 and 2

12.45 - 1.15

Lunch in Tyrrell Park

1.15 - 1.45 Site 3 
1.45 - 2.15

Conclusion and depart (toilets)

Learning activities 

Immersed in the Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest students will engage in fieldwork to examine the functioning and management of this ecosystem at risk. 

Inquiry questions

  • How does the Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest ecosystem function?
  • How has change impacted the natural functioing of the ecosystem?
  • What management strategies have been implemented by the CIty of Ryde to address these impacts?
  • How successful are the strategies?


Students will commence the fieldwork investigation in the Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre.  Students will be introduced to the reserve, the purpose of the fieldwork, the questions for geographical inquiry and the data collection methodologies. Working in small groups students will collet data in several locations in the Field of Mars Reserve. 

Site 1 - Strangers Creek constructed wetlands

Cross section diagram with spatial, ecological and human biophysical factors. Causes, impacts and solutions of/to the stormwater pollution issue at Strangers Creek (immediately adjacent to site 2). 

Site 2 - Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest

Record measurements relating to biophysical factors; atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere and vegetation structure (biosphere). Identify the interconnections in the forest and identify vunerabilities. 

Site 3 - Lower Strangers Creek

Physical, chemical and biological water quality testing and analysis. 

Syllabus outcomes and content

Geography Stage 6 Syllabus (2009)


  • explains the changing nature, spatial patterns and interaction of ecosystems, urban places and economic activity H1

  • explains the factors which place ecosystems at risk and the reasons for their protection H2

  • evaluates environmental management strategies in terms of ecological sustainability H5

  • evaluates the impacts of, and responses of people to, environmental change H6

  • justifies geographical methods applicable and useful in the workplace and relevant to a changing world H7

  • plans geographical inquiries to analyse and synthesise information from a variety of sources H8

  • evaluates geographical information and sources for usefulness, validity and reliability H9

  • applies maps, graphs and statistics, photographs and fieldwork to analyse and integrate data in geographical contexts H10

  • applies mathematical ideas and techniques to analyse geographical data H11

  • explains geographical patterns, processes and future trends through appropriate case studies and illustrative examples H12

  • communicates complex geographical information, ideas and issues effectively, using appropriate written H13

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