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Observatory Hill Environmental Education Centre

Observatory Hill Environmental Education Centre

Leading environmental education to empower learners for a sustainable future.

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S6 - Ecosystems and Global Biodiversity

Ecosystems and global biodiversity’ is a S6 Geography fieldwork case study of an ecosystem – Kelp forests of south eastern Australia, through a fieldwork investigation of one place within the ecosystem – Chowder Bay, Sydney Harbour. The program will highlight:

  • The character of the ecosystem, including its spatial patterns and nature of its biodiversity
  • The dynamics of ecosystem functioning including vulnerability, resilience and ecological disturbance
  • Human induced modification to the ecosystem
  • Responses and strategies including for maintaining ecosystem functioning and actions for sustainability
  • Ecosystem management including research and innovation in sustainable management of the ecosystem.

Studnets will investigate the chosen ecosystem using geographic skills and fieldwork techniques, including snorkelling in Chowder Bay, to better understand the ecosystem.

The Kelp Forest at Chowder Bay, NSW is a part of the greater Kelp Forests of South Eastern Australia. Kelp forests harbor a greater variety and higher diversity of plants and animals than almost any other ocean community. 

Students will participate in a series of hands on fieldwork activities at Clifton Gardens Reserve on Chowder Bay, Sydney Harbour. These activities will enhance geographical inquiry in this topic.

Program location

Clifton Gardens Reserve, Chowder Bay Mosman

View the Google Fieldwork Map (TBC) with approximate  meeting and pick up locations. 

Key inquiry question


Key syllabus outcomes

  • TBC 

Skills outcomes

Learning activities include:

  • TBC

Student previsit and follow up activities

Successful fieldwork visits have direct links to current classroom learning. Pre-visit activities carried out prior to the excursion will help students better understand their excursion content and provide connectedness and relevance to classroom learning.

Students should view the Pre-visit website to familiarise themselves with the fieldwork concepts and location. This website contains tasks, which together with the fieldwork, will help students answer the fieldwork inquiry question.


On the day activities

During the full day fieldwork excursion, students will complete the following activities:

  • Snorkelling in Chowder Bay Reserve to observe kelp first hand. 
  • Map Annotation and Precis Map construction
  • Stimulus resource investigation of Spatial Patterns and Dimensions
  • Observation and recording of the unique features of Kelp including what does Kelp need to grow? (Biophysical Interactions)
  • Food web construction
  • data collection of Biotic and Abiotic features
  • Observations and assessment of human impacts and management Strategies

Please note; activities may vary depending on number of classes attending.


  • Please ring the Centre for cost options.