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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


Printed worksheets will be provided to students on the day of the program.

To view the worksheet prior to your excursion, please contact the centre.


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 

Field of Mars Reserve 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
Supporting resources

Pre-excursion activities - Earth's natural systems: Forests Google site

Fieldwork techniques

Eucalypt forest

Leaf litter

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 - 1.00

Investigating the Eucalypt forest at the Field of Mars Reserve

1.00 - 1.30

Lunch at the Field of Mars Reserve

1.30 - 2.00

Data analysis and communication task
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 different forest types at the Field of Mars Reserve.


Activity 1 - Introduction 

Students will assemble at the centre and be introduced to the day’s investigations. 

Students will learn nature journaling techniques as a means for developing an understanding of the value of nature and connection between people and forests.

Students will be introduced to the fieldwork inquiry questions for the day. 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. Maps, diagrams and other secondary resources will be used to support student understanding.

Activity 2 - Fieldwork 

Students will bushwalk to two locations in the Field of Mars Reserve. At each site, students will 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, aspect and vegetation abundance and growth. 

Activity 3 - Analysis and communicating understanding

Students will be guided through a comparison of their results for each site to identify the key processes, cycles and circulations connecting natural systems in the forest. Students will use these to explain differences in forest types at these two sites. 

Graphic organisers will be used to facilitate students in communicating their geographical understanding.

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

Natural systems and land cover change

  • The natural processes, cycles and circulations that have shaped the land and/or water cover of ONE place

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