Friday, December 14, 2007

AAEE Conference in Darwin

The Australian Association of Environmental Educators (AAEE) will hold their 15th biennial conference in Darwin in July 2008. It would be great to have some presentations from teachers and schools that are doing some great programs in environmental education, so if you are involved in sustainable schools, dust watch, energy blitz, rethinking waste or any other great initiative of your own, please think about sharing your story. There are some really innovative things happening in the Territory and it will be great to get them into the national arena. Please contact me if you would like more information.

Information will be sent out to schools early in term 1 asking for expressions of interest from 5 remote school teachers who would like to attend/present at the conference. DEET will fully fund the attendance of 5 teachers that meet the selection criteria.

Rethinking Waste in Schools

If your school hasn't registerd for this please consider it as it is a great way to muster enthusiasm amongst staff and keep the momentum going.

The Keep Australia Beautiful Website and the wikispace developed for this project will give you more information.

Wikis are a great way for students to work collaboratively to document their planning and their projects development and share with others. If you would like to know more about how you can use wikis with your class check out the Using Wikis page.

If you would like to join the rethinking waste wiki please contact and she will make you a member.

Some positive changes for energy in schools

DEET have recently apponted a School Sustainability Energy Smart Officer who will initially be employed for 6 months starting 2008. They will be primarily getting info out to principals and registrars re the DEET energy smart policy, working with schools who have had audits done to prioritise recommendations and will put processes in place for funding of these, hopefully through DEET minor works program.

DEET are also investigating a model so schools can keep their savings in the area of resource management - eg waste, energy

We are also looking at implementing a fantastic online monitoring program - SETS for all NT schools which graphs energy usage and is very student friendly - , it also has nice visuals equating the amount of energy used/saved with no of cars on the road, trees etc.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Plant cells, up close

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center (USA) offers high-resolution images of plant cells for use in teaching. You can get up close and personal with a pollen grain, a chloroplast, cytoplasm and more! View all of the images on the Centre's website

Making sense of global environmental change

Do you want to stay up-to-date on the latest science and policy related to conservation and global environmental change, but just don't have the time to make sense of it all?

GreenFacts, a Belgian NGO, has put together dozens of information 'digests' on topics ranging from climate change to biodiversity. Many of their reports (in five different languages) are produced in conjunction with international bodies such as the Convention on Biological Diversity. Check out the GreenFacts website for a full list of available digests and other information

Friday, November 30, 2007

Re-Thinking Waste in Schools Workshop

Eight teachers from 5 Central Australian schools and 7 environmental experts from Alice Springs all met at the Desert Park today for the Re-Thinking Waste in Schools workshop.

The workshop was run through a wikispace which the teachers will continue to use to collaborate, share and plan both their units of work and the Big Waste Day Out celebration in August 2008. At the same time a group of Top End schools met in Darwin and were using the same wikispace to plan their own units of work and the Darwin Big Waste Day Out. To find out more and to see what the teachers are planning visit their re-thinking waste challenge wikispace

Teachers are planning all sorts of programs to create fun learning opportunities for their students that are purposeful and contextualised in the areas of reducing water, energy, litter and resource use, and increasing recycling and creative ways to deal with our waste.

If you want to join in with the Re-Thinking Waste Challenge, please contact (or if you are in the Top End)

The Re-Thinking Waste in Schools Central Australia Project is a collaborative initiative of Keep Australia Beautiful, DEET (Teaching Learning and Standard Division), NRETA (Waterwise and Alice Springs Desert Park) Gardens for Wildlife, DKA COOLmob, The Bowerbird Tip Shop and the Arid Lands Environment Centre.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Film Fundraiser for Children's Literacy Festival

The Children's Book Council of Australia are presenting

Elizabeth - The Golden Age,
a historcal thriller starring Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and Clive Owen

at The Alice Springs Cinema on Thursday 15th November at 6.30 pm.

Contact Ruth Jones 8955 0811 or 0427 524 399 for more information.

Tickets $15 available at Dymocks and Alice Springs Cinema

The Children's Literacy in the Centre (CLIC) Festival will take place in Alice Springs in May 2008

Friday, November 9, 2007

Solar Oven Bake-off

The solar oven bake-off will take place on Sunday November 18th in the Todd Mall.

The challenge is to cook a dish entirely on the day using only solar power as your heating source.

Baking begins at 11am and a panel of 3 esteemed judges will choose the winners at 4pm.

To create the winning masterpiece bring along your own solar oven, ingredients and imaginative recipies.

Entry is free for DKACOOLmob members and $5 for all other entrants.

Get your entry froms from the COOLmob website or contact Kat Taylor on 08 8952 0299

If you don't have your own solar oven yet The solar cooking archive may give you some tips on how to make your own.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Seed to Seed Food Gardens in Schools

Seed to Seed Food Gardens in Schools by Jude Fanton and Jo Immig is for teachers and parents on how to establish gardens that are biodiverse, organic and water-wise with low inputs and the full plant cycle from seed to seed. Chapters include the reasons for gardens in schools,planning, planting and maintaining, how to harvest and eat the garden and how to save seeds.

Using Google Reader to inform you of new blog posts

Are you one of those people that would like to have an email so that you know when there is new information, rather than having to check websites for updates?

If so using feed reader like Google Reader is the answer.

Google Reader is like an "inbox" for all the new content on the blogs you are interested in.

If you have the Google Toolbar you can just add an icon to the toolbar that shows immediately when there are new posts... and you can view them all from one page

It's easy to set up, just watch this video from YouTube.

If you can't view the YouTube Video, or are still not sure what to do or how this will work for you, this second video from TeacherTube gives you a bit more information.

You should now be able to set up your own Google Reader account without any trouble - but if you need assistance, ask a student!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Too young to vote but have stuff to say?

You may know some students that are too young to vote but still want to have a say about climate change and other issues relating to environment and sustainability.

Turning the Tides is a music project by Australian artists calling for action to address the grave threats posed by climate change in a manner that respects all those who share our planet. The voices of traditional Aboriginal elders are interspersed amongst songs from leading Australian artists including Missy Higgins, John Butler, Ghostwriters, Lior and more. The album features fresh material, some produced especially for the album from a range of Australia artists including Wolf and Cub, After The Fall, Good Buddha, Ben Fink, Watussi, Declan Kelly, Gelbison and more.

On the website you can learn great skills such as how to write a letter to politicians, find out information on various issues such as nuclear power aswell as the opportunity to upload your images and creative response to issues you feel passionate about onto the website.

Let the politicians know what you think real leadership means this election and what they should do about climate change.

A Youth delegation will take all Too Young To Vote messages to politicians in Canberra a week before the election.

For more info contact: and check out the turning the tide website at

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Irrkerlantye exhibition of bushfoods and medicines

There is a stunning exhibition of paintings of bush food and bush medicine plants by Irrekerlantye Arts artists on at Olive Pink Botanic Garden.

The exhibition is open everyday from 10am-4pm until Sun Nov 11th.

There are many different local plants and 30 different artists represented .

Monday, October 29, 2007


Kanyini is a fascinating story told by Bob Randall, an indigenous man who lives beside Uluru in central Australia.

Based on his own personal journey, Bob reveals why indigenous Australians are struggling in a modern world and explains what needs to be done in order for them to advance.

A tale of indigenous wisdom clashing against materialist notions of progress, this is not only a story of one man and his people but the story of the human race

Watch or download here

Friday, October 26, 2007

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Educational Resources

The USA Department of Energy, energy efficiency and renewable energy section have just released an updated energy education website with over 350 lesson plans covering all ages.

Re-Thinking Waste Launch at the Bowerbird Tip Shop

Where better to launch the re-thinking waste initiative than at the Bowerbird Tip Shop.

Yamba, Wurgle and students from OLSH were at the Bowerbird on Tuesday to look at many alternatives for waste, from landfill to works of art.

Lucy Sneddon of the Arid Lands Environment Centre launched the program with a talk on the choices we have with regard to what to do with our waste. Also there supporting the program were Michelle Walker of the Waterwise Schools program, Kat Taylor from CoolMob and Heidi Groffen from Land for Wildlife.

Many thanks to the staff of the Bowerbird for allowing us to use their inspiring venue.

The re-thinking waste in schools pilot program will run for a year and will culminate in a celebration of artisic performance and waste workshops at the Araluen in August 2008. A workshop for teachers will be held on 30th November at the Desert Park. Teachers interested in being involved are invited to contact

Monday, October 22, 2007


The Winner’s Circle is an approach to understanding and working with the different voices and opinions of the self. When this “community of selves” (Miller Mair) is in conflict, it makes decision making and action a struggle, even for the smallest of things.

The Winner’s Circle was devised to open the dialogue between the different aspects of the selves. Through this process, awareness is reached about particular obstacles or concerns, strengths and weaknesses are explored and tools are provided, leading toward harmony and integration. From a centred self, clarity, opportunities and action emerge. The Winner’s Circle symbolically represents all parts as equally important, and therefore crucial in the process and to the outcome.

The Winner’s Circle was first devised by Jasmine Lance in 2002, who incorporated it into her practice as a Creative Arts Therapist and Theatre Director. In 2006 Jasmine and international Torah Telling presenter, Yael Unterman, co-facilitated workshops in Melbourne and Sydney where this methodology and practice were integrated with outstanding results.

Jasmine’s experience and qualifications in the visual and performing arts, community development, counselling and alternative therapies ensures a dynamic, valuable, enjoyable and multi-dimensional exploration and experience.

WHEN: 27 October, 2007
WHERE: 1 McMinn St, Eastside
TIME: 2 – 5pm
COST: $100

Refreshments will be provided. For further information contact Jasmine on 8952 4969.

Council can recycle your cans!

From Monday 29 October people in Alice Springs will be able to bring in their cans for recycling at 5 cents each, as a result of Alice Springs Town Council receiving a $10,000 grant through the EnvironmeNT Grants Programme to undertake a can recycling programme. A maximum of 500 whole or crushed cans per person can be delivered to the collection centre adjacent to the public toilet at the Civic Centre on Todd Street.

“The program is part of a waste management and resource recovery program being initiated by Council. Territory Metals are providing collection bales and will collect them from Council once they are full. This is a one off funding grant, so the recycling will continue for as long as the grant money will allow. Council will be receiving $1 per kilogram for the cans during the duration of the project, and this money will be injected back into the programs to extend it for as long as possible. When people bring in their cans, they will be counted and then the person will be issued with a receipt for the number of cans they have delivered. The voucher can then be redeemed for cash in the Civic Centre reception area by our friendly Customer Service staff,” said Council CEO Rex Mooney.

Alice Springs Town Council has looked into various ways to encourage recycling in Alice Springs over the years, and the receipt of this grant has allowed people in the community be rewarded for thinking green. “Council hopes the community ‘can’ get behind the ‘can’ recycling program. It is a great way for children to make some pocket money, or for individuals to receive some kind of reimbursement for their aluminium cans. It is hoped we can extend the funds for as long as possible, to give everyone the opportunity to seriously contribute to our can recycling program,” said Mayor Fran Kilgariff.

For further information contact:
Mayor Fran Kilgariff (08) 8950 0525 or 0419 376 060
ASTC Chief Executive Officer Rex Mooney (08) 8950 0525 or 0427161956
ASTC Media & Communication Officer Fionn Muster (08) 8950 0546 or 0417884449

Friday, October 19, 2007

Learning with the brain in mind- an opportunity with John Joseph

A Professional Learning Opportunity for Students, Teachers, and Parents

John Joseph author of Learning with the Brain in Mind is coming to Alice Springs to run a set of 3 workshops on Monday 5th November.

If you have never seen John Joseph before get yourself along to one of these sessions, if you have seen him before, I am betting you will be coming back for more!

John Joseph, the Brain Man, will present

One day workshop for Year Six students (limited places available and booking essential)
A Brain Day – Exploring our Brain – modelling, dissecting, learning
Anzac Hill High School Hall, 9.00 am – 2.30 pm, Monday 5th November

90 Minute Information Session for Teachers
The Araluen Centre, 3.30 – 5.00 pm, Monday 5th November
Presentation - an overview of Learning with the Brain in Mind
Bar Available. Snack provided.

2 Hour Session for Parents
The Araluen Centre 7.00 – 9.00 pm, Monday 5th November
Presentation – Parenting with the Brain in Mind
Bar Available. Snack provided.

For more information contact John Cooper at ANZAC Hill High School 8951 3800 or Stewart Moyses at Larapinta Primary School 89550811

International Painting Competition on the Environment

The International Children's Painting Competition on the Environment is organized annually by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Japan-based Foundation for Global Peace and Environment (FGPE), Bayer and Nikon.

It has been held since 1991 and has received over 190,000 entries from children in over 100 countries.

This year's competition will focus on climate change.

The children's paintings can focus on concrete actions such as using renewable energy, introducing energy saving light bulbs at home, sharing vehicles and using public transport, or planting trees.

The competition will run until 15 January 2008. Visit the UNEP website for full details.

Native Plants for Central Australian Gardens

Greening Australia's fabulous new book "Native Plants for Central Australian Gardens" co-authored by Andy Vinter (of the Threatened Species Network) and Felicity Forth is now available.

Beautifully and simply presented, over 100 spectacular arid region plantsand helpful gardening tips and advice, this book will help gardeners and landscapers establish their own Central Australian native gardens. The local plants featured will survive with little water or fertiliser, they are attractive and will bring wildlife into your garden.

You can pick up a copy from the Greening Australia Nursery, open 9-4 on Thursdays, located at Charles Darwin University, off Grevillea Dv (0427775027).

Re-Thinking Waste in Schools Workshop

The challenge invites all NT schools to encompass a broad range of long term sustainable initiatives for reducing all types of waste. What action can your school take in the areas of waste? This might include reducing water and energy consumption, reducing total waste, increasing recycling or reducing litter in your school.

A list of sustainability action project ideas and resources that participating schools may select from is now available on the Keep Australia Beautiful NT website

Is your school ready for the challenge?

Come along to the workshop to get things rolling in your school.

If your school would like to be involved you might like to have two facilitators attend a workshop to help with the planning of your action project(s).

When: Friday 30 November, 2007 (week 8) 8.30am – 4.00pm

Where: The Education Room, Alice Springs Desert Park

What: This workshop gives participants the opportunity to

  • Find out more about the challenge and the types of action projects that students and teachers could be involved in
  • Find out more about a whole school approach by looking at some examples from some of the NT Sustainable Schools who are part of the national AuSSI (Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative)
  • Develop an action plan for their school projects
  • Develop a funding proposal for the small grants available for the ‘challenge’
  • Talk and plan with representatives from key supporting agencies/departments

    Ø NT Department of Employment Education and Training – Teaching, Learning & Standards Division,
    Ø NT Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts –Waterwise Schools
    Ø Desert Knowledge CRC Cool MOB
    Ø Arid Lands Environment Centre
    Ø Gardens for Wildlife
    Ø Alice Springs Desert Park

    ERT is available for up to 2 participants per school to attend the workshop. Application forms have been sent to all schools.

Contact Emma Bliss for more information

The Re-Thinking Waste in Schools Challenge is project managed by Keep Australia Beautiful and funded by NT Government and the Packaging Stewardship Forum

Monday, October 15, 2007

National Youth Roundtable 2008

Applications for the National Youth Roundtable (Roundtable) 2008 are now open!

Follow the link to the Roundtable 2008 application form and supporting documents. Applications for the Roundtable closing Thursday 18 October 2007.

The contact officers in the Youth Bureau - Debbie O’Donoghue (6212 9440) and Sharon Kent (6212 9559).

Whales website for kids

The Australian Government launched a new whales website for kids recently. See A video on YouTube about the ongoing global fight to stop whaling was also released. It is presented by the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Malcolm Turnbull. The video is available at:YouTube global site: Japanese site: The video expresses the strongly held anti-whaling views of Australians. 'Teens Against Whaling's' Skye and Ayesha Bortoli are also in the video, along with a class of year seven students from Sydney.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


A website to educate and inspire young adults to take informed action on contemporary issues, a great place to start your research on a huge variety of topics and issues...

What is ActNow?

ActNow is an awesome website for young people. It gives us information on important issues and makes them easier to understand. It’s also a great place for people to get inspired on taking action.’
Melissa 20, ActNow volunteer

How do you use ActNow?

knows that the more you understand about an issue the more you’ll feel empowered to do something about it. Use ActNow to find information on social, political, environmental, lifestyle and topical issues for a non-judgemental and factual snapshot of the bigger picture. All the content you find on ActNow is written by ActNow members who are young people just like you.

You can take action on issues any way you like. The important thing is to have a go and let the ActNow community know what you did, how you did it and what you think the impact was. Sign up as a member and you’ll be able to add your own content to the site such as a ‘thing to do’, a story, an interview, a video, a blog entry or a comment. Get published online!

ActNow is also a volunteering hub. Use the site to get in touch with over 200 organisations that are really keen to work with young people.

Who’s behind ActNow?

ActNow is run by The Inspire Foundation, an Australian not-for-profit organisation that creates opportunities for young people to change their world. Inspire also runs the Reach Out! and Beanbag programs nationally.

Friday, October 12, 2007

National Science Week Grants for 2008

The 2008 National Science Week Grants Round opened September 17 and will close on Friday, October 19, 2007 at 17:00 AEST. Individuals or organisations can apply for between $2,000 and $40,000 to run a science-themed activity during National Science Week 2008 (16 - 24 August 2008).
For more information about the grants round and the online application process visit
The Science Awareness Section, who administer these grants, can be contacted via or by phone (02) 6240 5078 (this voicemail service is checked regularly).
The National Science Week Grants are funded through the Science Connections Programme.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Re-Thinking Waste in Schools Launch with Yamba

The Alice Springs Launch of this program will take place

at 10 am
at the Tip Shop

Yamba and Wurgle the water droplet will be there.

Please come along with your class (teachers are reminded that they are responsible for the behaviour of their students at all times, please bring other supervising adults with you to support you in this role)

RSVP:Could all teachers bringing classes please contact Michelle by Friday 19th October for catering purposes.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Re-Thinking Waste in Schools

This project, which includes support from Keep Australia Beautiful, Alice Springs Desert Park, Arid Lands Environment Centre, Gardens for Wildlife, DKACoolMOB and WaterWise Schools will be launched early next term. Look out for an information pack arriving in your school in week 1.

What is the Re-thinking Waste-in Schools Challenge?

The Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB)NT Rethinking Waste – in Schools Challenge invites all NT schools to encompass a broad range of long term sustainableinitiatives for reducing all types of waste. The challenge is based on actions your school takes in the areas of litter reduction, recycling, energy and waste reduction. A list of sustainability action projects and resources that participating schools can select from will be made available on the Keep Australia BeautifulNT website

An application form will be available very soon on the KAB website. Please contact KAB ph 89815535 now if you would like a hard copy of the information pack and application form sent to your school.

The Green Directory - Promoting Sustainable Living

The Green Directory is Australia's number one online green business directory. We promote a comprehensive range of Australian and international products and services, which are eco friendly and promote sustainable living.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

CLIC Fundraiser

CLIC - Childrens Literature in the Centre

Help raise funds the first Children's literature in the Centre festival in Alice Springs.

The Children's Book Council's CLIC Festival will be held in May2008.

A fundraising Afternoon Tea will be held in the Plaza outside Dymocks Alice Springs on Sunday 7th October 2007 2.00pm - 4.30pm

Dymocks will be donating a percentage of all sales made during this afternoon tea. Wear a spring hat, meet your friends, buy a book, try your luck in the raffle and relax in the Alice Springs Plaza

Monday, September 24, 2007

Learning for Sustainability website

Learning for Sustainability - supporting dialogue, collective action and reflection:

The Learning for Sustainability website focuses on sustainability issues such as natural resource management, and provides an online guide for government agency staff, NGOs and other community leaders working to support multi-stakeholder learning processes.

It may also be of use for professional development purposes by teachers delivering the Sustainable Futures SSABSA courses.

The site provides links to key information sources on topics including networking, dialogue, adaptive management, knowledge management and evaluation. A new section highlights resources on social research methods, systems thinking, and action research.

ENO-Environment Online

Have you been wondering how to use ICT in your teaching and find interactive ways in learning? Are you interested in environmental issues and global education? Would you like to improve your teaching, and network with colleagues from all over the world? This is your chance.

ENO-Environment Online © is a global virtual school for sustainable development and global education. Four environmental themes are studied within a school year on a weekly basis. About 400 schools from 104 countries take part. The ENO programme has been running since 2000. It is coordinated by Pataluoto School and administered by the Department of Education in the city of Joensuu, Finland.

Although the term dates don't line up too well for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere this project provides some great opportunities for education around environment, ICT and twin relationships with students in other parts of the world.

If you use this, we'd love to hear your stories - share them using the comments below.

Carbon Calculator

A new Australian Carbon Calculator is now available online

It is part of the Australian Government's Carbon Clever promotion

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Human Rights Art Award and Exhibition 2007

Darwin Community Legal Service is once again hosting the Human Rights Art Award and Exhibition to celebrate International Human Rights Day, December 10. The Exhibition gives artists an opportunity to exhibit work, which deals with human rights themes. Artists from across the Territory, from preschool to professional, are invited to enter work in this exciting and challenging exhibition.

The United Nations has declared 2007 to be the International year for the prevention of violence. Artwork can address this theme, OR any other human rights issue of interest to the artist.

Work may be in any medium, and artist may submit individual work, or may like to work collaboratively with other artists or community members. The work can be celebratory and focus on local or international achievements in human rights, or focus on areas of human rights that are in need of urgent attention.

The exhibition will be held in the beautiful Supreme Court Foyer, with the opening, and presentation of prizes (in a number of categories), to be held on Tuesday 11 December 2007. The exhibition will be open until Friday 21 December 2007.

If you wish to participate in this years Award/Exhibition, or would like more information please contact Felicity Wardle, Darwin Community Legal Service, on
8982 1111 or

Violence Prevention

‘Everyone deserves the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.’ For more information go to:

Friday, September 7, 2007

Walk for Water

Did you know that the second biggest killer of children in the world is unsafe water and poor sanitation?

The Walk for Water will raise money to provide water, sanitation and hygiene education to children across the world. Join Water Aid Australia in the Schools Walk for Water during National Water Week October 21-27 2007.

Just $30 is enough to provide one person in Africa, Asia or the Pacific with a lasting supply of clean water. sanitation and hygiene education and your students can learn about the value of this precious resource at the same time.

Share your ideas for National Water Week by using the comments here

Short film and animation competition

Are your students interested in creating short films and animations? Primary and secondary students (15 years or younger) may use this year's theme Green to enter the internationally known TROP FEST film competition. The festival is a fun, accessible and positive platform for kids to show off their talent in film making. The work of 8 Trop Jr finalists will be shown on the big screens in Sydney's Domain on 17 February 2008. Entries close 10 January 2008. See the website for more information.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Threatened Species Art Show

The Threatened Species Network has been running an art competition across the NT but unfortunately received no school entries from the Alice Springs region by the due date last Friday. They have booked space for an art show at the public library from Friday the 14th of September until the 14th of October. They would love to have some student art to display.

They are seeking:
  • Artworks on the theme of threatened species in the Northern Territory;
  • Students to attend the opening on Friday the 14th of September at 12:30pm;
  • Teachers to indicate their intention to submit artworks by phone or email ASAP (by this Friday 31st August) as they will have to cancel the show if there is no interest.
  • Artworks to be ready for hanging by the 13th of September.

    Contact Andy Vinter, Threatened Species Network Coordinator - Arid Rangelands on 8952 1541 or to find out more and to get some info on local threatened species.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Encyclopedia of Earth

Encyclopedia of Earth is a new electronic reference about the Earth, its natural environments, and their interaction with society. The Encyclopedia is a free, fully searchable collection of articles written by scholars, professionals, educators, and experts who collaborate and review each other's work. The articles are written in non-technical language and are aimed at students, educators, scholars, professionals, as well as the general public.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Leadership in Environmental Action Program (LEAP)

A new innovative environmental and social justice conference for year 10 and 11 students is being held at the University of Melbourne this year. The conference will be held from Wednesday 26th to Friday 28th September and will give students the opportunity to learn about environmental issues and meet people currently involved in environmental projects. The program will comprise workshops, excursions and discussions around issues such as climate change, deforestation and the extinction of native species.
Facilitators and mentors for the conference include people from the Wilderness Society, Friends of the Earth and the Australian Student Environment Network.

More information and application details can be downloaded from

Applications are due by next Friday ! 31st August.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Maths Olympics at The Lane 23rd August 8pm

I have just received info on the venue for the maths olympics public session detailed in the National Science Week info below.

This will be held at The Lane 8pm for 8.30 start
Entry is a gold coin donation to Riding for the Disabled Inc.

Free email notification of new blog posts

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

An interesting clock

My sister just sent me a link to this fabulous world clock .

The host and creator claims to have designed it for the 'morbid curiosity' in us all. It is a little morbid, but also a great way to get an idea of the magnitude of many issues in the world including extinctions, deforestation, disease, birth and death rates and much much more. You can look at the figures for the year, month, week, day, or click 'now' to reset and see the what happens during the time you are watching or over the course of a lesson. A great resource to start a unit of work on some of these issues.

A similar 'earth clock' can be found at the bottom of this page and includes some slightly different data.

Monday, August 13, 2007

New Desert Website Teacher info session

Jodie Clarkson of Bioparks NT has been working with Sonora Desert Museum in Arizona to build a website for kids which compares and contrasts the Central Australian Desert with the Sonoran Desert. Teachers are invited to come along to the Desert Park on Monday 20th August 2007 to preview the site and to discuss how you might use it in the classroom.

Please call me by 12noon on Monday to reserve your place and get directions - 8951 8718

Friday, August 10, 2007

National Science Week Events

Dear Science Lovers,

National Science Week (18th - 25th August) is rapidly approaching! Please see details of the great activities planned below.

11th August - Science in the Centre
Launch program of events for Science Week; balloons and giveaways.
Venue:- Yeperenye Shopping Centre.

11 th August - Starry Night/Scinema Desert Park
Entertaining short Science films which have drawn a large community interest will be viewed on the big screen at the Nature Theatre. Please bring a cushion to sit on. Following the film session walk to the Picnic Area where the Alice Springs Astronomical Society has a great night under the stars planned.
7pm – 8pm Family Scinema Session under the stars.
8pm Stargazing in the Picnic area
Venue:- Alice Springs Desert Park
Event Coordinator: Karen Eva-Stirk 89507123

August 18th - 10 Reasons Why Biologists Find Australia So Interesting
Steve Morton is one of the country’s foremost thinkers on issues facing conservation, land management and ecological sustainability. In this talk Steve shares his love of the country and a Biologists dedication to the Australian Environment.
Venue:- Andy McNeill Room at the Alice Springs Town Council
Time:- 6pm for 6.30—8pm.

22nd August - Brain Break
Brain Break is a morning tea with a difference. Across the Northern Territory on Wednesday 22nd August, organisations using or teaching or doing science will be celebrating science with Brain Break morning teas. It’s easy to get involved— just organise a morning tea for your staff and/or students—we’ll provide a free caffeine coaster for all your Brain Break participants. We can also supply you with National Science Week posters, bookmarks and other promotional material you can use as giveaways or as in-house displays for National Science Week 2007.

To organise your Brain Break Pack - Contact Karen Eva-Stirk 8950123

23rd August—Public Session Maths Olympics
The next Maths Olympics is only one year away,.. and Australia is currently ranked 48th!
What a disgrace!

...but don't despair, Simon Pampena stand-up mathematician, has developed a training session to turn young potential into gold medal reality.

Through an hour of music, comedy, dance audience interaction and MATHS, Simon communicates the passion needed to be number 1 in the greatest sport in the world.

Venue The Lane
Time 8.00 for 8.30

25 August Bushfoods/ Wildfoods recipe competition
This competition, now in its third year, will commence during Science Week, with the first HEAT. There are categories for domestic and young foodies, and professional and apprentice chefs.
The aims of the event are:

to increase knowledge in the community about
  • the uses and properties of bushfoods and wildfoods
  • the cultural significance of bush foods to Central Australian Aboriginal people, and the important role Aboriginal people in remote communities have in the economic value chain and in research associated with bush foods

and to encourage people to

  • experiment with bush foods and wild foods to create new recipes to share with others· and
  • to share ideas on the science and process of recipe development, with a particular focus on the use of bushfoods and wildfoods Central Australia.

Grab a copy of the entry form from Afghan Traders or the Science Week stand in Yeperenye Shopping Centre.

Many thanks to Karen Eva-Stirk for coordinating all of these fantastic events.

Don't forget the theme for schools is antarctic science. Download lesson ideas here.

Have a great Science week.

Australian Association for Environmental Education

The Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE) is the national professional association for those who identify themselves as working in the fields of environment or sustainability education.

Members include teachers and people working in other organisations that provide environmental and/or sustainability education.

Members have access to a number of online resources and receive a monthly electronic newsletter. The association also publishes the Australian Journal of Environmental Education (AJEE). There is also a biennial conference which will be held in the NT (Darwin) in 2008.

Teachers interested in Environmental and Sustainability education may benefit from joining this association.

My Environment

The Australian Government Department of Environment and Water Resources has recently launched My Environment which provides a window onto the environment and heritage around your place.

Enter your address details and create a report that includes:

  • vulnerable and endangered plants and animals that may live near your place
  • where your nearest heritage sites and important wetlands are
  • where your nearest waste oil disposal depot is

and many other things

This website can provide an excellent point from which to begin a project on exploring your local environment. The site has some good information on the Alice Springs region - I would be interested to hear how much information it has on more remote locations. Perhaps your students can inform DEW if there are things of interest around your school that they have not yet included - you can contact them through the website.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Green Vouchers for Schools Programme

What are Green Vouchers for Schools?
The Australian Government will provide up to $50,000 for every school to install solar hot water systems and a rainwater tank to improve energy and water efficiency.

Who is eligible?
All Australian primary and secondary schools are eligible for funding. Where a school has previously received funding for rainwater tanks under an Australian Government programme, such as Community Water Grants, this amount will be deducted from the $50,000 grant.

What will be funded?
A rainwater tank above 10,000 litres and a solar hot water system, along with their associated infrastructure and fittings can be purchased with the grant. For tanks the installation costs can include a pump and reticulation to toilets, gardens and ovals etc. The water is not to be used for drinking purposes.

How much will it cost?
This programme will cost $336 million over the next four years.

How to apply?
All schools will be sent a voucher they can use to access the programme. Every school will be invited to register their interest online or by calling 1800 020 625. Schools will need to develop a plan to determine the works that best suit them. During this planning process schools will also identify necessary licences and approvals.

How does the voucher work?
Each school will receive a single grant payment. The payment will be based on a firm quote and delivery timelines obtained by each school to undertake their identified works.

What happens when the work is done?
After the work has been completed each school will provide a final online report and acquittal. Through the online acquittal process, schools will be asked to provide feedback on their energy and water awareness activities undertaken, and the estimated energy and water savings obtained by participating in this programme.

Where can further information be found?
Further information can be obtained by contacting the Department of the Environment and Water Resources on 1800 020 625 or via email on

Funding for Youth Aged 12-15 - Your Eyes Only Grants

Your Eyes Only is a grant opportunity for young people 12 -15 years to celebrate the strengths of their community by submitting a creative entry celebrating their community through their eyes.

Successful applicants will nominate a community group working with young people in their community, for example a school, youth group or sporting group, to receive a donation. This donation would then be used by the community group to further its work by either purchasing much needed equipment or adding funds to an existing program. This is the second round for 2007.

Entries close 17 September. Application forms and more information is available at Contact 03 9670 5436 to receive free posters mailed to your organisation.

The energy saving search engine Blackle

When your screen is white - an empty word page, or the Google page, your computer consumes 74 watts, and when its black it consumes only 59 watts. Mark Ontkush wrote an article about the energy saving that would be achieved if Google had a black screen, taking in account the huge number of page views, according to his calculations, 750 mega watts/hour per year would be saved.

In a response to this article Google created a black version of its search engine, called Blackle, with the exact same functions as the white version, but with a lower energy consumption, check it out

Use this site as your search engine and do your bit for the planet.

Scientists in Schools

The 'Scientists in Schools' initiative was officially announced by the Hon Julie Bishop MP, Minister for Education, Science and Training in Perth last month.

The 'Scientists in Schools' initiative will promote science education in primary and secondary schools, help to engage and motivate students in their learning of science, and broaden awareness of the types and variety of exciting careers available in the sciences.

Practising scientists will work with schools on a voluntary basis, bringing the practice of real world science to students and providing teachers with the opportunity to strengthen their knowledge their knowledge of current scientific practices.

A website has been created that will enable schools and scientists throughout Australia to register their interest in becoming involved. See

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Podcasting at the Alice Springs Desert Park

An activity designed with Middle Years students in mind.

Using the current audioguide as an example, and their knowledge of the desert and the Alice Springs Desert Park, students create an alternative audioguide designed to appeal to a teenage audience.

Download instructions for how to do this - it is much simpler than you might think.

High quality and appropriate podcasts will be made available on the Desert Park website, so they will become available for use by students visiting from interstate as well as local people.

Tina Sullivan (the new MY TaLE for ASHS and ANZAC) and myself are available to support one class from ASHS and one from ANZAC with this project during semester 2 of this year. Other schools interested are also invited to contact me.

This project also has great potential for oral language learning activities and bush schools are encouraged to contact me. Podcasts in indigenous languages would also be welcomed.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Teaching English for ESL students at ASDP

A series of worksheets for students with English as a Second Language (ESL) have been developed in conjunction with the ESL and ILSS (Indigenous Language Speaking Students) Project Officers.

A visit to the Alice Springs Desert Park is an ideal language learning opportunity for students from central Australian communities as they are very familiar with the context.

There are six worksheets available, 2 levels for each of the three habitats. There are also extensive teacher notes supporting both language teaching and environmental education outcomes. All documents can be downloaded here.

Resources You Can Borrow from the Project Officer

I have a huge collection of resouces that I can loan out to schools. These include:
  • Microscopes
  • Mangifying glasses
  • Binoculars
  • FlexiCam
  • Animal Scats
  • Snake skins
  • Seed collections
  • Bird feathers
  • Insects
  • Clipboards
  • Bumbags
  • Posters
  • Petri dishes, pipettes, measuring cylinders etc for studying water holes and other basic science activities
  • Hand puppets of local animals
  • All you need to do the Rock Around the Park activities
  • Reference books, activity books and children's books on animals, plants, and other aspects of environmental education for sustainability and science
  • Wooden Kay Kessing cut outs of the animals and plants of each Desert Park habitat for use in your classroom or for stage sets etc.
  • The Alice Springs Desert Park also has an Insects in Schools program through which we can provide you with local stick insects for study in your classroom. A unit of work and care instructions can be found on ExploreNT. Log in with your latis username and password and type 'using stick insects in the classroom' into the search terms.

NT teachers wishing to borrow any of these items please call me on 8951 8718, or email me on

The Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative

The Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI) is a partnership of the Australian Government, the States and Territories that seeks to support schools and their communities to become more sustainable. Sustainability in this context includes social, economic and environmental sustainability, which you may have heard referred to as the Triple Bottom Line. Participating schools adopt a whole of school approach which includes behaviours and governance as well as curriculum aspects, they also work closely with their communities.

Practices being adopted in schools vary depending on the location, population and needs of the communities involved. We currently have 3 Central Australian Schools involved with AuSSI NT: Laramba School, The Alice Springs Steiner School and Bradshaw Primary School.

The e-space course for AuSSI NT is a public course that all NT teachers can access. Just login with your latis username and password and look for Sustainable Schools under the heading Public Study Groups on the bottom left of your screen (if you don't have a latis username and password contact Jenny Buckworth on 8999 3539). There are many resources housed on this site and all schools are encouraged to access and use them.

If you would like to know more about AuSSI NT please contact the project officer on 8951 9718 or e-mail at Top End schools that are interested may contact Louise Fogg, Environmental Education for Sustainability Project Officer for the Top End, on 8999 3712 or e-mail

Using the Alice Springs Desert Park as an Educational Resource

The Alice Springs Desert Park is a habitat based nature park. Three desert habitats are represented in their entirety - Desert Rivers, Sand Country and Woodland.

The plants and animals are shown as part of the habitats in which they are usually found. Stories of how people have lived and continue to live as part of these ecosystems are illustrated. The roles of fire and water are presented. The overall focus is on how both living and non-living components of these habitats are linked in complex webs of interdependence.

Major Features:
• Exhibition Centre with displays and a film introducing life in the desert
• Three arid zone habitats:- Desert Rivers, Sand Country, Woodland
• Aviaries in every habitat
• Many species of desert plants with labels explaining aboriginal use
• Nocturnal House including threatened species of the arid zone
• Walk through kangaroo and emu exhibit
• Nature Theatre featuring birds of prey
• Guided walks and talks on topics ranging from bush tucker to nocturnal life

A visit to the Desert Park will give students:
• An understanding that the country around them is alive, exciting and dynamic
• An awareness of the complexity of the habitats they encounter
• Cross-cultural awareness and appreciation
• An appreciation that the desert is an enjoyable place to visit and worth protecting

Getting started with planning your visit:
Download the booklet Using the Alice Springs Desert Park as an Educational Resource
For more detailed information on the features of each habitat download Desert Rivers, Sand Country and Woodland.

Entry for all NT School Groups is FREE, providing students are adequately supervised and advanced booking has been received. Click here to download booking forms and the code of conduct

NT teachers may also use the services of the NT DEET Project Officer to assist them with planning their visit and units of work in line with the Northern Territory Curriculum Framework . You can contact the Project Officer by calling 8951 8718 or by e-mailing

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

National Science Week 2007

National Science Week is in week 5 of term 3 (18th-25th August). This years theme for schools is Antarctic Science which has some obvious links with the current topical issue of climate change. You might like to build this into your school curriculum for the term.

The Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA) will send a teacher resource pack to your school (usually addressed to the Principal), look out for it arriving soon. If you want your own copy you can order one through the website.

Some Ideas for NT Teachers can be downloaded using this link.

You may also like to visit National Science Week website for more ideas.

The Alice Springs Desert Park will be hosting Scinema and Starry Night on Saturday 11th August.

Check back here for more National Science Week info coming soon.

Have a great Science week

Energising Sustainable Communities

An International Schools Competition to design a sustainable city is being held in conjunction with the 2008 International Solar Cities Congress - Energising Sustainable Communities - options for our future. Students need to produce a design for an existing city or neighbourhood and the submission may take a range of forms including a poster, written report, drawing, poem. song, interview or essay (or any combination of these) in hard copy or electronic form. This competition provides an excellent opportunity for our students, particularly after the recent announcement that Alice Springs is to be the Fourth Solar City in Australia

Beating the Carbon Cops

Have you been watching the Carbon Cops on ABC TV during the holidays? I bet some of your students have. Now might therefore be a great time to dedicate a couple of lessons to the ways that we use energy and and produce carbon dioxide in our own homes, communities and lifestyles.

Imagine the difference we could make if all households reduced their carbon production by 50%.

Lessons on this may be supported by the Carbon Cops website which includes fact sheets and an emissions calculator. Another great website for this topic would of course be the official website of An Inconvenient Truth. This website includes an Education Guide which you can download. Copies of the DVD have also been sent to all schools.

Please feel free to share your your thoughts on these ideas or any practical examples of when you have studied this topic with your class.