Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre logo

Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

Experience Engage Enable

Telephone02 9816 1298

Human impacts and introduced species 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.


DoE $24 per student - GST free

Non-gov school cost $34 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.

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.


Preparing for an excursion

Supporting resources

Student resources:

Teacher resources:
Bin access

All student waste to be taken home by students.

Medical or special needs

Notify Field of Mars staff prior to excursion. 

Sick students or adults to stay at home.

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 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

The suggested timetable is suitable for up to two classses.



9.45 - 10.15 Introduction
10.15 - 10.30 Recess
10.30 - 10.45 Select equipment and travel to sites
10.45 - 12.30 Sites 1 and 2 
12.30 - 1.30 Sites 3 and 4
1.30 - 2.00 Lunch
2.00 - 2.15 Management and conclusion
2.15 Depart

Learning activities

This program consists of a day of fieldwork that covers content from Module 4 from the NSW Stage 6 Earth and Environmental Science syllabus. This excursion involves hands-on fieldwork around Strangers Creek in the Field of Mars Reserve. Students will:

  • collect primary data and information using ecological methods

  • investigate the biotic and abiotic effects of several introduced species such as: lantana, small-leaved privet, red fox and Peruvian water-primrose

  • assess the effectiveness of City of Ryde’s management strategies for these introduced species.


The fieldwork activities have a strong focus on the syllabus skills for working scientifically.

The map below outlines the activities conducted at each fieldwork site visited in the program.

Site 1 is a weed-free Eucalyptus forest with a heavily eroded track. Here the students work together in small groups to collect qualitative and quantitative data about the site. Each group is equipped with their own equipment bags, one for biotic/abiotic factors and the other for soil factors.
Site 2 is a dense thicket of weeds with only a few native trees growing above the weedy canopy. Here the students collect a second data set using the same equipment and methods used at site 1.
At sites 1 and 2 students use their phones to collect and process their data directly into a shared google data spreadsheet.
Site 3 is the site of an old landfill that is slowly being rehabilitated. At this site students examine a fox den, bush regeneration zone, and community planting area as well as learning about the impacts, control and management of local introduced species including the Red fox, Lantana, Privet, Trad (wandering Jew), Madeira vine and more.
Sites 2B and 2C are alternative sites that may be visited and studied by request (in place of sites 1 or 2). At these sites students learn about the priority management weed Peruvian water primrose.

Syllabus outcomes and content

Stage 6 Earth and Environmental Science (2017)

Module 4 Human impacts 


A student:

  • develops and evaluates questions and hypotheses for scientific investigation EES11/12-1
  • designs and evaluates investigations in order to obtain primary and secondary data and information EES11/12-2
  • conducts investigations to collect valid and reliable primary and secondary data and information EES11/12-3
  • describes human impact on the Earth in relation to hydrological processes, geological processes and biological changes EES11-11


Effects of Introduced Species

Inquiry question: 

How do introduced species affect the Australian environment and ecosystems?


  • outline the biotic and abiotic effects of introduced species
  • conduct an investigation into a local introduced species, including:     
    • reason for introducing the species
    • biotic and abiotic effects of the species
    • area affected by the species
    • human impacts that favour the introduced species
    • control or mitigation methods
    • economic impact of the species
    • different views about the value of and/or harm caused by the introduced species, including the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 

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