Student fieldtrip to Kioloa beach

I haven’t written any posts in ages as I have been ridiculously busy and I do like to take my time when writing a post. What has it happened since then? Many things but most of my ‘distractions’ have come from this two main categories:

  • Fieldwork: I’ve been to One Tree Reef, Japan, and Maldives for fieldwork (more info in another post)
  • Teaching: My Future Fellowship is finished and I am now back to a full load of teaching

And… this post is about teaching! This year Jody could not take the GEOS3009/3909 students to One Tree Island as he always does, it was just not possible given the tides and his availability. So we decided that it was not fair for the students to not have any fieldtrips… I consulted with Tristan and we both agreed that we could do this together! We were to organise a coastal fieldtrip during the first few weeks of semester!

When deciding where to go, there were two options in my head: we could either go to Hawks Nest (I have taken students there many times, following the fieldtrip that Andy Short and Michael Hughes used to run); or, we could go somewhere new, like the Kioloa Coastal Campus (ANU) on the NSW south coast. The excitement of a new trip took over the conservative (and possibly wiser) approach of doing a fieldtrip that I had done many times. Ever since I discovered Kioloa Coastal Campus two years ago while on a family holiday, I have been wanting to take some students there.

So this year was the year. Preparations were frantic as I was also teaching a new second year course (GEOS2115/2915) that included brand new practicals; and the master’s course on coastal processes MARS5001 that I love to teach. But we got there in the end… the Geosciences staff team included Tristan, Madi, and I.

We arrived there on Friday night and had a short briefing with the students. We then woke up early on Saturday and, after a lovely breakfast, we allocated the students to their groups. All groups were to undertake all activities and then each group would take all results from one of the tasks, process and analyse all data in the evening and early Sunday and then present to their peers on Sunday at 10am. It was hectic and intense but we did have a really keen group of students!! They did surveying, grain size, image analyses of the surfzone, hydrodynamics (waves), tidal inlets, and, the advanced students did overall analyses of all results coupled with the decadal evolution of the area.

The students worked really hard at the field, and then worked with their groups to analyse the data and the presentations on Sunday were really impressive. Tristan, Madi, and I were really pleased with the results and the student engagement. What is even better is the really lovely feedback we got from the students, on Friday morning I was wondering why I was doing this to myself… on Sunday evening after the students left in the bus, I was pumped to do it again next year!

Teaching can be so satisfactory, seeing happy students telling you that they learnt a lot while having a great time is really priceless and I want to thank all students for the hard work and dedication; but also, for having taken the time to tell us how much they enjoyed the fieldtrip and how much they had learnt.

Sense of accomplishment: HIGH; sense of self: tired beyond words but really happy.



P.S.: Facilities at KCC were awesome and what to say about he food from the Hand Cut Food,??! (they are the owners of the Tall Wood restaurant in Mollymook) incredibly good, it does take fieldwork to another level!!




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