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

Nature's systems program

Teacher checklist


Field of Mars Reserve, 220 Pittwater Road, East Ryde

Wallumedegal Country

Google maps - Apple maps

Supply bus driver with Field of Mars Reserve bus information
Field of Mars Reserve risk management plan

View the YouTube track overview videos.

Buffalo Creek track

Doyle and Warada loop track

Strangers Creek loop track

Alternate location (others are available)

Buffalo Creek Reserve, 117 Pittwater Road, Hunters Hill

Wallumedegal Country

Google maps - Apple maps

Supply bus driver with Buffalo Creek bus information.

No bus entry into Buffalo Creek Reserve carpark.

Buffalo Creek Reserve risk management plan

View the YouTube track overview videos.

Sugarloaf Point loop track


DoE $25 per student - GST free

Non-gov school cost $35 per student - GST free, minimum charge $700


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.


Student worksheets depend on your excursion's location.

Here is a sample worksheet for the Field of Mars Reserve site.


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

There are no shops near the study site.


Preparing for an excursion

Preparation and supporting resources

Fact sheets

Eucalypt Forest Digital Book for iPads and Macs

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 whether

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



9.30 - 10.00 Introduction and recess
10.00 - 11.30 Fieldwork (two sites)
11.30 - 12.00 Break
12.00 - 1.30 Fieldwork (two sites)
1.30 - 1.50 Break
1.50 - 2.15 Conclusion and depart

Learning activities

Ecosystem investigations

Students conduct hands-on ecosystem investigation at two fieldwork sites, including in-field planning, rigorous data collection with quality instruments, processing and interpretation of the differences in biotic and abiotic data between the two fieldwork sites.

Invertebrate investigation

Students will investigate bushland invertebrates using safe collection procedures. They will then identify and classify these invertebrates to the level of phylum/class, they then observe their invertebrate's features and behaviours before inferring and communicating their structural and behavioural adaptations, interactions and local food webs.

Plant structure investigation

Students will explore the features, structures and tissues of several bushland plants and investigate how these plants are used traditionally by Aboriginal Peoples for for medicine, tools, food and shelter. Safe, engaging hands-on activities that occur in this investigation may include fire-starting, natural soaps, and insect repellant preparation.

This program works best for students who have already started, or are close to concluding, the topic areas of ecosystems, plants, adaptations and/or classification.

Syllabus outcomes and content

Science 7-10 Syllabus (2018)


A student:

  • relates the structure and function of living things to their classification, survival and reproduction SC4-14LW 


LW1 There are differences within and between groups of organisms; classification helps organise this diversity.

b. classify a variety of living things based on similarities and differences in structural features

c. use simple keys to identify a range of plants and animals

f. explain how the features of some Australian plants and animals are adaptations for survival and reproduction in their environment

Other syllabus links

Learning experiences will also support but not explicitly teach the following outcomes and content: 

A student:

  • explains how new biological evidence changes people’s understanding of the world SC4-15LW 


LW5 Science and technology contribute to finding solutions to conserving and managing sustainable ecosystems.

a. construct and interpret food chains and food webs, including examples from Australian ecosystems

c. describe interactions between organisms in food chains and food webs, including producers, consumers and decomposers

d. predict how human activities can affect interactions in food chains and food webs, including examples from Australian land or marine ecosystems

Life Skills


A student:

  • presents science ideas, finding and information to a given audience using appropriate scientific language, text types and representations (SCLS-9WS related Life Skills outcome)


Students communicate by:

a. presenting ideas, findings and solutions to problems using scientific language and representation using digital technologies as appropriate

b. using appropriate text types presentations, including a discussion, explanation, exposition, procedure and recount

Science and Technology 7-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2018