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Illawarra Environmental Education Centre

Illawarra Environmental Education Centre

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The Earth's environment

The Earth’s Environment

Stage 2 Geography

The Earth's environment


Mt Keira Scout Camp

Special notes

Dates for bookings are limited by scout camp availability.


Program overview

This excursion immerses students in the spectacular subtropical rainforest environment at Mt Keira. The day includes investigation of the features that shape the rainforest ecosystem and differing perspectives on the values of the rainforest environments of the Illawarra escarpment. 

Students view tools and artefacts consider the sustainable way the Wodi Wodi people would have interacted with the rainforest environment at Mt Keira and complete role play exercises to consider perspectives held by other people who have interacted with the rainforest environment at Mt Keira and the Illawarra over time. 

Students engage in fieldwork by testing physical factors in rainforest vs cleared environments, and surveying the leaf litter for biodiversity of macroinvertebrates. 

A walk through the rainforest involves students using visual representations to identify key rainforest trees  - a precursor to selecting appropriate rainforest trees for a tree planting day back at school.

Inquiry and focus questions

  • How does the environment support the lives of people and living things?
  • How do different views about the environment influence approaches to sustainability?
  • How can people use places and environments more sustainably?

Learning experiences 

Forest Floor explorations 

Working in small groups, students are provided with magnifiers and shown various methods such as tree shake and leaf litter invertebrate sieving to discover some of the millions of invertebrates contributing to food webs and nutrient cycling in the rainforest ecosystem.

Rainforest walk with tree ID and leaf rubbing
Students are led on a rainforest loop walk. Throughout the walk they are given rainforest tree ID guides to locate key trees, which they then select leaves and complete leaf rubbings. 

Measurement of physical Factors

Using a range of equipment including thermometers, soil probes, anemometers and light meters, students examine the physical conditions of a rainforest slope and a disturbed area.  Their data is collated and collected for processing and analysis leading to discussion on the consequences of change to a natural environment. 

Land use that has shaped the Illawarra landscape

Traditional Aboriginal practices 

Students are shown a variety of Aboriginal tools and artifacts from around Australia that demonstrate skilled craftsmanship and ingenious design for hunting and gathering food. Students are encouraged to appreciate the inherent spiritual connection Aboriginal Peoples have with the land and that this respect ensures protection of the  environment. 

The effect of European Settlement 

Students are given costumes and props that represent the early settlers of the Illawarra  such as cedar getters, dairy farmers and coal miners, as well as modern day conservationists. Guided with a narrative read by the teacher, students role play actions and perspectives that explain the effects each group had on the environment. 

Key syllabus outcomes

Geography K-6

S2 - The Earth’s Environment

A student:

  • Examines features and characteristics of places and environments GE2-1
  • Describes the ways people, places and environments interact GE2-2
  • Examines differing perceptions about the management of places and environments GE2-3
  • Acquires and communicates geographical information using geographic tools for inquiry GE2-4