A S T A

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In Brief

Coming in 2023:  (click for further information)

8 days (minimum of 5 school days)

Future expedition dates and duration are estimates only.  

Please check the terms of each expedition for eligibility

No cost!

Bush Blitz TeachLive is a fully funded professional development opportunity with all costs associated with travel, food, accommodation and teacher replacement included (up to a maximum of 6 days)

Important Notes

Due to the remote and rugged Bush Blitz sites, limited facilities and current safety protocols, it is important that you are comfortable with:
  • being in the field for 8 hrs per day while walking over sometimes difficult terrain;
  • being transported via helicopter and for long distances in 4WD vehicles, often over bumpy terrain;
  • not having access to toilets while in the field; and
  • sleeping in a tent and limited access to facilities such as showers (cold), power, internet and phone reception.

Accommodation and field environments will vary for each location, so it is important to review the specific details for an expedition before deciding to apply.

ABOUT BUSH BLITZ TEACHLIVE 

Bush Blitz is a national partnership between the Australian Government, BHP and Earthwatch Australia that aims to discover, document and describe the unique flora and fauna of Australia. It is the world’s first continent-scale biodiversity survey providing the knowledge needed to help protect Australia’s biodiversity. www.bushblitz.org.au.

Bush Blitz TeachLive is an exciting and unique professional learning opportunity for teachers to participate as research assistants alongside leading scientists on Bush Blitz expeditions. They learn hands on scientific research skills while helping to document plants and animals and potentially discover new species.

While in the field teachers share the experience with their students through virtual lessons (crossing live to their class via video calls and other online tools) and regular blog posts on Bush Blitz TeachLive website (https://www.earthwatch.org.au/Blogs/teacher-blog).

The interactive nature of the Bush Blitz TeachLive program is an engaging way for teachers to improve their web-based teaching skills, learn current scientific research techniques, work in a team with world-class scientists and other teachers and learn more about unique Australian environments.

Watch the videos below to see the experiences of the teachers who participated in Bush Blitz TeachLive in the ACT in 2018 and Little Desert in 2019.

 The Bush Blitz TeachLive program seeks to:

  • Educate teachers and students about Australia’s biodiversity and the importance of conservation.

  • Inspire students to pursue further studies in STEM and geography subjects by exposing them to real and exciting scientific research in an Australian context and building their core skills and knowledge in science and biodiversity conservation.

  • Inspire and build confidence of teachers to be scientific role models for their students.

  • Increase the quality of STEM/geography teaching through building teachers’ scientific knowledge and research skills, and providing them with a transformational experience that motivates them to pass on this knowledge and skill to their students.

  • Encourage teachers to share their Bush Blitz TeachLive experience with their schools and wider communities, through implementing biodiversity and conservation projects or activities.

* To be eligible for Bush Blitz TeachLive expeditions, you must be an Australian primary or secondary teacher currently based in an Australian school.  Eligibility criteria may vary between expeditions, so please refer to the details provided for each expedition.

The Bush Blitz TeachLive team are looking for a committed but diverse range of teachers to assist scientists on the 2023 Bush Blitz TeachLive expeditions.

Bush Blitz TeachLive provides the opportunity to broaden teacher knowledge and experiences beyond the classroom. You do not need to be STEM or geography trained nor an experienced teacher, you just need to be passionate and keen to share your experiences with your school community. We particularly encourage teachers who might benefit from participation. These could include early career teachers, teachers with limited experience in teaching the STEM disciplines, experienced teachers who are keen to improve their fieldwork skills in order to instruct their students and/or teachers that want to actively demonstrate to their students the biodiversity of Australian ecosystems.

  • To be eligible you must be an Australian teacher currently based in the indicated eligible states and/or territories for that expedition.
  • If you have previously participated in Bush Blitz TeachLive, you will be ineligible to apply.
  • Education providers outside of schools (such as environmental education providers) may also receive lower priority, as the program requires teaching “live” direct to a class.

Selection for Bush Blitz TeachLive is a competitive process.  Applicants are assessed for their eligibility and enthusiasm, plus their commitment to fully participate in the program.  The number of applicants can be very high, depending upon how many states and territories are open for applications for a particular expedition.

We encourage teachers to let their personality shine through and to think carefully about their application responses, so that they have the best chance of being considered.

ASTA will seek confirmation from shortlisted applicants’ school Principals to ensure that the school understands the requirements and supports their teachers’ application, prior to offering them a place on an expedition.

See the “How to apply” information provided on each expedition page for specific details about the application requirements and selection criteria for that expedition.

The final selection of teacher participants is at the discretion of the selection panel, which includes representatives from Bush Blitz, Earthwatch Australia and ASTA.

A fully-funded place on a Bush Blitz TeachLive survey includes:

  • Travel  reimbursement for getting to and from the Bush Blitz 
  • Accommodation in the field
  • All meals while in the field
  • Teacher replacement costs* 
  • Training in field research methods
  • Training in website content management
  • Detailed briefing materials prior to the expedition
  • Bush Blitz TeachLive merchandise.

* Only standard school days during the stated expedition period, and where teacher replacement costs are actually incurred, are eligible for school reimbursement, up to a maximum of 6 days.  Distance or remoteness may mean that some participants need to travel on school days at either end of the expedition period, which are generally not eligible for teacher replacement costs.  In such cases, teachers should make private arrangements with their school for those additional days.

This program will require a dedicated commitment by teachers. These commitments are described in greater detail on each expedition page.  Briefly, successful applicants are expected to commit to the following:

Pre-survey commitments

  • Group induction and web training seminar.
  • Available laptop.
  • TeachLive planning with the school.
  • Acquire the necessary IT skills to livestream or record.
  • Reasonable physical fitness.

During-survey commitments

  • Fieldwork participation both daytime and evening.
  • Daily web blogging.
  • Teaching “live” online.

Post-survey commitments

  • Prepare 3-4 lesson plans. 
  • Written reflection about your experience.
  • Implementation of a biodiversity-themed project at your school.
  • Ongoing evaluation of the Bush Blitz TeachLive program with Earthwatch Australia.

Detailed information about how to apply is provided for each separate expedition, as these may vary from time to time.

Generally, you will be asked to

  1.  submit a recorded video “pitch”, and
  2.  complete a written application form via Survey Monkey.

Louise Edwards, one of the participants at Rungulla National Park, Queensland, in May 2022, was clearly touched by her recent experience, and submitted this poem as a reflection on the expedition.

One Perfect Day – by Louise Edwards

I can’t help thinking lucky me
One perfect day, flight to Cairns
Four teachers only chosen, lucky me, why me
One perfect day, driving the Savannah Way
Crisp, fresh, gentle breeze curling around my face.

Bright blue sky slowly replaced by sunset oranges, pinks and yellows
Sounds of nature calling me to remember
Remembering we are but one species on this special Southern land
Remembering before colonisation there were People here
They survived, they are still here, People deeply connected to this land.

Always the sun
Ewamian people managing and protecting all
Challenge
Bush Blitz stepped up
Working together to collect flora and fauna data
Nature discovery project to help protect biodiversity
For our future, all future generations.

One perfect day, real joy together
Helping each other find new species together
One perfect day, I’m meant to be here
We can change the world, just get out there and do something
My students will be part of the solution of caring for this land
We are all standing on sacred ground together.


 

Kimberley Reflection – by Fiona Jancey

I was told about the Bush Blitz Teach Live expedition by a long-time friend of mine on the East Coast. She is not a teacher and she hates camping. She knows I love it and has listened to many stories of my adventures driving and camping all over Australia and growing up and working on a dairy and beef farm. She also knows how interested in the natural world and animals I am. She said to me that Earthwatch were looking for teachers to apply, and she thought it would be something that I would be really interested in. As soon as I researched what Bush Blitz Teach Live was and read the brief and the application process, I knew it was for me. Apart from the obvious travel opportunity to the Kimberley, the idea that my personal passions could be combined with my professional work life seemed too good to be true.  I was intrigued that there was an opportunity for me to be with working scientists and learn about a whole new world and somehow bring that back to integrate into my everyday classroom teaching life. 

As promised, I followed teams of Australia’s top scientists as they conducted their research in the field each day.  We were on Wilinggin Country and had permission to live and work there by the Traditional Owners, which just in itself was a special experience. The actuality was that Bush Blitz Teach Live was an incredible- once in a life-time- opportunity and experience, not only to see such remote wilderness, but to work with experts all committed to studying and protecting the diversity of the environment for the future. The enormity for me that Bush Blitz is committed to documenting and finding rare and new species in remote, undocumented places which they only go to once and teachers are only allowed to attend a Bush Blitz one time is not lost on me. What a privilege and an honour to be selected.

What was also an honour, and something I found overwhelmingly positive, was how happy the scientists were to have five teachers descend on them and join them out in the field every day. They stopped what they were doing to pose for photos, to talk with us, explain and share. This continued well into the night as they documented and catalogued their field specimens back in the lab. Being with so many people at one time who were all concerned about the environment and their own personal impact on it and generally hanging out with people who were so willing to share their knowledge was a clear highlight for me. I felt like I was adopted by these people- a new team every day- and they shared their whole focus with me, valuing the Earthwatch, Bush Blitz Teachlive concept that teachers will take their experience back to share with schools and students in an educative setting.

Other high points of the experience for me included landing on top of waterfalls in a helicopter, swimming in waterfalls at the bottom of deep gorges, going on spider hunts, and showing off my farm-life skills at opening and closing gates and helping on sites. I felt really helpful out in the field and I could see that I was genuinely useful to the working scientists. As expected, I really enjoyed camp life and living in the bush with minimal supplies. I was proud of myself for being 46 and being able to be fit and strong enough to happily keep up with the walking and the climbing and the demands of being in the hot sun out in the field all day. I had fun.  My brain was busy. In every photo I am smiling and grinning from ear-to-ear. I look as happy as I have ever seen me.

In the application process I was asked to explain how I would use my learnt knowledge from the trip in my teaching. I found this really hard.  What would I learn? How would I know what to do with this knowledge?  Well, I needn’t have worried about this so much. From my very first arrival onto Charnley River Station I could see classroom practical transference possibilities everywhere. Picture this- five teachers get out of a car and we hear an excited scientist say, “Is that the teachers? We’re about to dig up a Tarantula, do they want to come and watch?” I was so excited.  I have been teaching my year ones about Tarantula habitats ever since I returned as part of our Geography, ‘natural environment,’ curriculum requirements.

There was so much excitement and a real buzz about my adventures at my school, before, during and after the event. My Admin team were very supportive. I talked to the whole school at the assembly before I left, there were updates on our school Facebook page, on our school Seesaw account and in our school newsletter while I was away. I have addressed our School Board and I have a public notice board that teachers were pinning photos on while I was away. Since I have returned to my school, I have had so many people big and small stop to talk to me about my trip. This is what we want! – an entire school community aware and interested in the environment, biodiversity and what we can do to protect and nurture the natural world we live in.

What I have learnt through Bush Blitz Teach Live has given me a substantial platform to use in my role as Sustainability Coordinator in my school. I was able to make some contacts within the Science world, learn about Citizen Science programmes, ideas and resources that all have pedagogical connections to my school, teaching and leadership initiatives. I have also used cultural aspects learnt from the trip as part of my school’s NAIDOC celebrations and with my Cultural Officer and within my classroom. All of this already and I have only been back two weeks!

We were required to do a live cross with our class and a scientist while we were away. I loved this.  There is a photo of myself and Dr Mark Harvey, Curator of Arachnids from the Western Australian Museum, that was taken by a teacher in my classroom of the TV screen as the cross was happening. I love this photo.  It really demonstrates for me what I see as a distinct professional highlight from a twenty-three-year career. Me, in a remote part of Australia, laughing with a world expert scientist as I am chatting to my class of students in the deep South West of Western Australia.   Surely, it can’t get better than that!

As part of the commitment of being involved in Bush Blitz Teach Live, I am now required to write lesson plans for educational purposes. This is exciting! This is not a chore.  I am brimming with ideas.  I have been teaching for a long time and I really feel that this experience as reinvented my career. For the new teachers that were on the trip I could see that it would shape their careers. I am very grateful. I feel like the expedition was made for someone like me.  I could not recommend Bush Blitz Teach Live more highly.  It was everything it said it would be. It was everything it could have been… and the question everyone wants to know… yes, the food was really good.

Contact Us

Phone : (02) 6282 9377
Email : asta@asta.edu.au
Post :
Australian Science Teachers Association
P.O. Box 334
Deakin West, ACT 2600

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The Australian Science Teachers Association acknowledges the First Nations peoples of Australia as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work and live. We pay our respect to Elders past, present and future and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.