Year 11 Biology Depth Study

The Warrumbungle National Park was a magnificent backdrop for the Year 11 Biology Depth Study. Warrumbungle is a Gamilaraay word meaning crooked mountain, and for many thousands of years it has been a spiritual place for the custodians of this land, the Gamilaraay, the Wiradjuri and the Weilwan. It was in this beautiful environment that biology students, 42 in total, worked in teams to develop and respond to an inquiry question with a focus on the interrelatedness of different plant and animal species within the park.

After setting up the campsite on the Tuesday afternoon, the following day was devoted to field study work. Warrumbungle NPEEC Principal Mr. Leedham, facilitated learning in the outdoor classroom, teaching field study and investigative skills in the Grassy Box Woodland ecosystem. Students collected abiotic (non-living) and biotic (living) data in their groups in four different study areas, two of which were exclusion zones established for the purpose of comparing the impact of course woody debris and grazing herbivores on the abundance and diversity of plant species in the areas. Students utilised equipment specific to ecological field work to harvest quantitative and qualitative data in all four study areas.

Each group added their findings to a group data set in order to improve the reliability of results. The data also serves a real-world purpose in that it contributes to a longitudinal study across different schools and over a prolonged period of time in order to study the biodiversity and ecological health of the park and guide future research.

The culmination of the Depth Study was the presentation of group videos which addressed every aspect of their study and made recommendations for future management of the park. Marked by teachers, self and peers, each group presented valuable analysis and insights with excellent results.

Special thanks must go to the staff of the Warrumbungle NPEEC for their friendly and professional approach. They are the experts in their field and make this assessment task and excursion a fantastic success year in and year out. Our camp boss Mr. Haworth created a warm, welcoming and nourishing camp base for students and teachers alike. He was the consummate professional, with impeccable time management skills and the ability to flip a ‘toad-in-the-hole’ like a boss.

Thank you to Mrs. Lesslie for making the trip up the hill with me for a learning opportunity that has been value-adding to the Biology curriculum for six years. Our students were amazing, and it is thanks to them and their willingness to learn and produce excellent results that the Biology depth study is a continued success. Thank you boys!

Mrs Amanda Watson - Science Teacher

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