From the Head of Geography, Adam Wallington
People and Economic Activity and Ecosystems at Risk Field Trip
The threat of severe storms on the North Coast of NSW didn’t deter the Year 12 Geography class of 2017 from their much anticipated field trip to the Hunter Valley and Worrimi Conservation Lands / Stockton Dunes.
The cohort of Year 12, as part of the unit People and Economic activity, investigate a money generating farming activity. The activity studied is viticulture; the study of grape production for the purpose of wine. At the Hunter Valley, the students undertook a winemaking course; developing an understanding of the process of grapes from vine to bottle. In the afternoon, Liz Riley, a much sought after viticulturalist and consultant to several large wineries shared her knowledge of her family businessc- Scarborough Wine Company. It was here the cohort gained an understanding of wine production at a local scale.
After a BBQ dinner overlooking the vineyards, the tired cohort took rest at the Hunter Valley YHA in preparation for day two – quad biking at Stockton Dunes.
Day two involved a one hour drive to Worrimi Conservation Lands; also known as Stockton Dunes. This was an opportunity to explore the fragile nature of dune ecosystems. After a safety briefing and the issuing of helmets and safety vests; the group under the guidance of Indigenous Worrimi leaders rode quad bikes out onto the dunes. During the activity we visited traditional meeting sites known as ‘middens’ and learnt about dune formation, climatic variables, human impacts and traditional and contemporary management practices.
Overall, it was way for students to undertake some ‘hands on’ learning outside of the classroom.
Below is some student feedback.
Overall, a great learning experience. I left Sydney not knowing much about winemaking and the process, but by the time I left the Hunter Valley I was much more knowledgeable. I had a great time on the quad bikes. It was a great experience to ride over the dunes and learn at the same time.
During the field trip, I enhanced my learning through a deeper understanding of the Viticulture process [wine-making]. The best part about the trip was learning how the different wines were made. Quad biking on the sand dunes was a fantastic way to finish a great trip.
The excursion was an immersive experience. It provided me with the relevant case study material needed for my Viticulture and Ecosystems at Risk task. The quad biking on Stockton dunes was an experience that will not be easily forgotten; not just because of the massive storm that hit, but because it made clear to me the extent of the ecosystem and its fragility.
I enjoyed the quad biking on Stockton Beach as this is something that I have never experienced before. I would definitely recommend this to the upcoming Year 12 Geography classes.
Zac Conacher- Smith
A great experience to be involved in. I learnt about the process of wine production and coastal sand dunes by experiencing it first hand. As a result, through asking questions to experienced and knowledgeable guides, I am able to better understand the topic . Overall, a great experience and a lot of fun to part of.
The viticulture and coastal dunes provided many opportunities to acquire first hand knowledge about both topics. During our time at the Hunter Valley the insight we gained from both the presentation on wine production and the talk with Liz Riley was a tremendous benefit and extremely helpful in completing our assessment.
Whilst visiting Stockton Dunes, we got to experience the full scale of the actual dune system as well as the surrounding historical sites and vegetation management plans.
Overall this field trip provided me with more than the required knowledge and I recommend it to the geography classes in the future.