Wonder of Science and the Queensland Trust for Nature
Avoid Island Programme

In December 2016, Wonder of Science (WoS) partnered with the Queensland Trust for Nature (QTFN) to offer the Avoid Island Programme for ten year nine students from WoS schools across the state.

Two of the Young Science Ambassadors from WoS accompanied students on the trip, which offered a once in a lifetime opportunity for students to assist in the collection of vital data on Flatback turtles. The three day programme included a charter plane trip to Avoid Island, situated 100 km south of Mackey. This 83 hectare island on the Great Barrier Reef is a refuge for nesting Flatback turtles where marine biologists are collecting data on this vulnerable species.

On the island, the students helped collect data on nesting Flatback turtles with Dr. Nancy Fitzsimmons, a world renowned turtle biologist. Dr. Fitzsimmons is tagging and collecting data on female Flatback turtles visiting Avoid Island, and the eggs they lay; as part of a larger project to determine how the Flatback turtle population numbers of Eastern Australia are changing over time.

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Each night of the programme, the students patrolled the beach searching for turtles coming ashore to nest. When a turtle was found, the students assisted Dr. Fitzsimmons in gathering data, including scanning for a microchip and ID number, measuring the length of the turtle shell, and checking the turtle for any injuries. During the day, the students had the opportunity to relax and explore the island. While visiting the tidal rock pools on the Island, Dr. Fitzsimmons guided the students through a lesson in marine biology.

The Avoid Island Turtle Programme was an amazing opportunity for the high school students to gain experience in marine biology. In particular, it provided hands-on experience in scientific data collection, and enabled students to gain insight of what it is like to be marine biologist. It also gave students firsthand experience of what it takes to conserve and protect vulnerable marine species.

“Seeing what the marine biologists did when studying the turtles gave me an understanding of what the future as a marine biologist would hold.”

“Seeing what the marine biologists did when studying the turtles gave me an understanding of what the future as a marine biologist would hold.”


See Wonder of Science students in action at the regional student conference at Dalby in June, 2016


Wonder of Science Program Manager acknowledged at the 2016 Women in Technology Awards and the Australian Centre for Leadership for Women Diversity Awards

Wonder of Science Program Manager Robyn Bull received a Highly Commended Award in the Outstanding Educator Category of the 2016 Women in Technology (WiT) Awards in Brisbane. Robyn was nominated in the Outstanding Educator Category for her dedication to STEM education over the last decade and in particular her focus on rural and remote Queensland communities through the Wonder of Science Program. 

Robyn also received the 2nd place prize at the 2016 Australian Centre for Leadership for Women (ACLW) Diversity Awards in Sydney. Robyn was recognised for her work as part of the Wonder of Science Program and its impact on rural, remote and regional communities in Australia. Congratulations Robyn! 

In addition, two of the Young Science Ambassadors, Indira Prasadam (QUT) and Ludwika Nieradzik (UQ) were also in the finalist line-up at the (Wit) Awards, with Ludwika receiving a Highly Commended in the Career Start Category. Congratulations also go to Ludwika! 

 

 

Wonder of Science Flying Scientist Program

In collaboration with the Queensland Office of the Chief Scientist, Wonder of Science is piloting 'Flying Scientists' - who are early career researchers that accompany Young Science Ambassadors into regional Queensland centres for community STEM awareness events. The pilot program has been developed to address the shortage of science related events convened outside South East Queensland.

Our Flying Scientists will be making their way to Cooktown, Charleville, Roma and Tara for FREE community events showcasing STEM career pathways, as well as the Flying Scientist's research in robotics, mechatronics, drone technology and youth issues...

Stay updated with these events through our facebook page.

 


Young Science Ambassador awarded first place at the British Council FameLab Queensland State Finals

Young Science Ambassador, Natalie McKirdy, was recently awarded first place at the British Council FameLab Queensland State Finals. FameLab is a science communication competition where contestants have to explain their research in three minutes or less without jargon or PowerPoint slides. They can be as creative as they like, and Natalie used poetry and props - including a silkworm she crocheted that actually 'spins' silk threads - to explain her research. Natalie and her colleagues aim to design a new treatment for macular degeneration using silk proteins. The idea is to replace the cells that are damaged and die at the back of the eye in macular degeneration, with healthy cells grown and transplanted upon a sheet of silk proteins. Congratulations, Nat - Wonder of Science is very proud of you!

 

Natalie at the FameLab QLD  State Finals

Wonder of Science on Palm Island

In term 4, 2015 students at St Michael's School on Palm Island experienced the Wonder of Science program and investigated how caring for the local environment helps to protect and promote dugong, sea turtles, and other marine life. Watch the video to see St Michael's students working with the Young Science Ambassadors and then celebrating their presentations with morning tea and dancing.

 


Regional Student Conference: Roma

As part of the Wonder of Science program, students in years 4 - 9 from Roma and surrounding schools participated in a one-day student conference. Students presented their response to a challenge task aligned to the Australian Curriculum: Science. The regional student conferences provide the opportunity for students to participate in scientific inquiry which builds higher order thinking skills and develops scientific understanding. The Young Science Ambassadors and Industry representatives support students and teachers with the challenge tasks as well judging at the conferences. 

 

Wonder of Extreme Science Event 

The Wonder of Extreme Science event was held at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane on Friday 29 May 2015. The event was a unique opportunity for Year 10 science students and teachers from across Queensland to engage with top Australian science and technology role models in a free, one day seminar aimed at stimulating students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics as a career. 

The Wonder of Extreme Science included a key note presentation from Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt, student workshops and the opportunity for students to get up close and personal with  leading entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, mathematicians and technologists in the 'Speed Meet the Scientist' activity. The event was made possible through the generous sponsorship provided by the Queensland government, several universities and a host of industry organisations.

Thanks to QUT, the Wonder of Science Ambassadors and QUT Ambassadors for this successful event.