From the 30 November till 6 December a small group of year 10/11 ASMS students went on a 5-day excursion to Heron Island Marine Research Station. Outside our normal student trips, we were invited to join the Heron Island tour by our friends at Corinda State High School. Along with Centenary State High School, we were requested to collaborate on a scientific project which involved research on the picturesque Heron Island.
Students travelled by plane to Brisbane, spending a day sightseeing in the CBD and touring Corinda State High School and their amazing agricultural program before they braved the overnight bus to Gladstone and boarded the ferry to Heron Island.
“The beauty of the island was evident from the moment we pulled into the harbour. Turquoise blue ocean, coral reef and green vegetation. The island is remote and has only a small resort and the marine research station. The island’s biodiversity and wildlife is unique and abundant. Seabirds went about their lives around us (and kept us awake at night) and the coral reef and the marine species within it. Over the course of many snorkelling sessions students swam with sea turtles, rays, a ridiculous number of strikingly beautiful fish species, many species of reef sharks and an abundance of coral and algae species. Students went for nightly turtle walks and a sunrise turtle walk where we were able to watch loggerhead and common green turtle species make their way up the beach, lay their eggs in the sand and then make their way back to the sea. The outer reef group snorkels were particularly memorable and breathtakingly beautiful.
It wasn’t all tourist sightseeing for our students. They also undertook science projects and field work every day. The students worked in small groups to develop a research question, before investigating and presenting their findings at the end of their stay. They learnt how to undertake marine field work using transect and quadrat equipment to collect data for their research question findings. Our year 10 students have also chosen to continue their Heron Island work through their year 11 research project work in 2020.
The students developed many skills over the course of the week and gained so much confidence in the water. They made new friends, learning and experiencing so much together over their seven days on the island. A huge thank you to Corinda State High School and Century State High School for running such an amazingly valuable program and for their wonderful hospitality. “
~ Alicia Coleman, Teacher