Educational Materials Library
Dr Peter Dart and Col Lynam, members of The Royal Society of Queensland, have compiled this primer on the coal seam gas industry. Are you aware that Queensland coal seam gas is a risk to food security? The paper includes a useful table of recent reports and media columns with hotlinks. The paper has been written exclusively for the Queensland Science Network.
Glendon Event 26 August 2023
Some 179 farmers attended a field day on 26 August 2023. A declaration – the “Glendon Declaration” – was unanimously endorsed by the gathering. The program flyer identifies the main issues and a list of numerous expert contributors.
Read the opening address Protecting Prime Agricultural Land Liza Balmain, ‘Glendon,’ Nangwee, Queensland. 4407. Saturday 26th August, 2023.
Read the Executive Summary of the Glendon event, a lucidly worded explanation of the failure of the Queensland Government to fulfill its obligation to secure the public interest while administering mining and gas tenures.
Also see the dedicated page on good quality agricultural land.
This guide to environmental activities (23MB) from the US Peace Corps has information of general usefulness, but the ideas here are always subject to the Queensland curriculum.
Dr Pat Dale, member of The Royal Society of Queensland, has been investigating methods of mosquito control for more than 30 years. In particular, she has trialled “runnelling”, a low-impact form of habitat modification, as an alternative to spraying pesticides. In this article published in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, she and co-authors compare control methods using economic tools, notably “present value”. Discount rate can be manipulated to yield very different economic conclusions.
P Dale, J Knight & P Daniels (2018). “Using present value as a simple approach to compare mosquito larval control methods“. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association 34(1): 25-33.
ABSTRACT. Simple economic-based comparisons of source reduction and larvicide treatment are generally lacking in the mosquito control literature. The aim is to address this by developing an Excel tool that calculates the total present value (PV) of control methods. We use 15 years as the time frame, but this can be varied. Total PV is calculated based on the cost of each method at the start. A 3% discount rate is applied to recurring costs, and one-off costs are included throughout because they are part of the total PV. The data are based on information provided by mosquito control agencies in southeast Queensland, Australia. Values in the tool can be simply edited to reflect specific program characteristics. The outcome for the data used showed that source reduction is an appropriate option if maintenance is minimal. When major maintenance is needed, then larviciding may be the better option, particularly if money is the main consideration. However, if the frequency of applying larvicides increases, then source reduction becomes an increasingly attractive option.
Here is a PDF of a slide presentation explaining the study (2.6MB).
In 2018 the United Nations declared 20 May annually as World Bee Day. The World Bee Day websites international and Australian contain useful videos, case studies and written materials explaining the role bees play in agriculture and biodiversity. Also see the website for the Australian not-for-profit Wheen Been Foundation.
The National Waterbug Blitz is Australia’s first nationwide, citizen science, waterway monitoring event. In spring each year, Australians are encouraged to discover how healthy their local waterways and wetlands are, simply by exploring and identifying what waterbugs live in them. Many schools, farmers, local residents, catchment or Landcare and other community groups, are collecting information on local waterway biodiversity through surveys of water life.
Participants usually attend a workshop or training event hosted by a local group and take water samples containing freshwater macroinvertebrates, which can include various stages of life, from dragon flies, damselfies, mayflies, caddisflies, waterbeetles and many more species that inhabit the water in creeks or waterways.
Aquatic invertebrates, though small, play a very important role in determining a waterway’s health These tiny creatures are very sensitive to changes in the waterway. Therefore, the condition of the wetland, creek or river can be easily determined by the presence or absence of these creatures. Thus in very disturbed water only very hardy species (those not sensitive to pollutants or sediment run off for example) will be present. Snails, bloodworms or backswimmers would be most commonly found.
The Waterbug App is free to download. However, it’s not just as simple as taking a photo. Participants need to have the correct resources, to collect the water samples, such as a fine mesh net, buckets and sampling materials to pick the live samples and classify them before the photo can be taken and uploaded.
It’s intense work, requiring at least two people to help as well as a safety factor whenever one is working in water. Involving adults and children to get outdoors to try hands-on activities to learn about freshwater ecosystems has to be a bonus in any science activity!
A series of information sheets on soil properties and soil erosion by Southern Queensland Landscapes and the Queensland Department of Resources provides an excellent introduction to soil science. Lucidly illustrated, they are suitable for mid-year to senior science students.
A series of 30 exercises for students is available on the TED site Earth School. The exercises, called “Quests”, encourage students globally to “celebrate, explore and connect with nature”. A certificate is emailed upon completion of the 30 exercises.
Australian Dr John Cook has developed a game, Cranky Uncle, to explain global warming and climate denialism. The game is promoted on the site www.skepticalscience.com as a teaching tool, for secondary and tertiary levels. The game is accompanied by a book and a Teachers’ Guide.
The website has a wealth of material on climate change and global warming. The site is tailored towards a popular audience and is authoritative.
By Jodi Rowley Curator, Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Biology, Australian Museum
Australia has 240 known species of frog, almost all of which are found nowhere else in the world. Some species are flourishing, like the Striped Marsh Frog. But others have declined dramatically since the 1980s, and four have become extinct.
Croaks, whistles, bleats and barks – every frog species makes a different sound. By recording a frog call with the FrogID app, students will discover which frogs live around them and help us count Australia’s frogs, empowering your students to be citizen scientists.
FrogID is a national citizen science project that is helping us learn more about what is happening to Australia’s frogs. All around the country, people are recording frog calls with nothing more than a smartphone.
With the data obtained through FrogID we are able to track the Cane Toad and identify where frogs are thriving and where they aren’t. And by matching calls to weather and habitat, we are learning more about how different frog species are responding to a changing environment.
Get your class and students involved in FrogID:
- Create account & group at FrogID.net.au
- Instruct students to create account & join class
- Download the FrogID App, Sign In & Record
- Check Leaderboard for Results
Wet Rocks is an initiative of the Teacher Earth Science Education Programme: Groundwater Education Resources for Teachers
Wet Rocks is a valuable resource for both learning and teaching about groundwater. Relevant to the Australian Curriculum, Wet Rocks introduces study of groundwater and its place in the water cycle, how it
is formed, its importance as a resource, and the complexities of groundwater management.
This four-page introduction to groundwater by the University of NSW is suitable for secondary students.