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.

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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