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In Brief

Next location to be advised – check back soon!

Next dates to be advised

Due to the remote location of many of the sites, participants will generally need to allocate an extra day’s travel either side of the dates.

To be advised

To be advised

No cost!

Bush Blitz TeachLive is a fully funded professional development opportunity with all costs associated with travel, food, accommodation and teacher replacement included

Wunnamurra Gorge. Credit: Robyn Jay
West Kimberleys Mountain Range. Credit: Michael Theis

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 rocky terrain;
  • transportation via helicopter and for long distances in 4WD vehicles, often over bumpy terrain;
  • not having access to toilets while in the field;
  • sleeping in a tent and limited access to facilities such as showers (cold), power, internet and phone reception; and
  • providing proof of full COVID-19 vaccination (or medical exemption) prior to the expedition.

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.

The Bush Blitz TeachLive team are looking for a committed but diverse range of teachers to assist scientists on the 2022 Bush Blitz TeachLive expedition.

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 state / territory of the 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 will be based on:

  • A two-minute (maximum) video submission.  The video will form the main component of the application.
  • Your response to three key selection criteria.
  • A supporting statement from your Principal.

See below “How to apply” for further details about the application requirements.

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

Support from Principal (please refer your school Principal to this section)

The applicant must:

  • Indicate they have their Principal’s endorsement of their application, through checking a box on the application form. 
  • Provide their Principal’s contact details on the application.

A member of the Bush Blitz TeachLive selection committee will contact, by email then phone, the Principal of each shortlisted applicant. The purpose of this contact is to find out how the school will support the applicant to achieve the objectives of the program and more specifically what support will be provided leading up to and during the Bush Blitz survey and how the applicant will be supported to share the outcomes of the Bush Blitz Teach Live survey with the school and school community.

Due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 globally and Australian border arrangements, Bush Blitz has a number of controls in place:

  • Vaccination:  our vaccination policy follows the latest Australian Government advice.  All Bush Blitz participants are required to produce verified proof of full COVID-19 vaccination (minimum double-dosed) unless medically exempt.
  • A COVID-19 declaration form will need to be signed by all participants prior to arrival on the expedition.
  • All activities on each expedition will be conducted in accordance with the relevant state guidelines.
  • A COVID-safe plan has been devised for each expedition in the event that anyone displays sings or symptoms consistent with suspected COVID-19 illness.
  • All COVID-19 safety measures will be included in the team safety briefing given at the start of each expedition.

A fully-funded place on the 2022 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
  • Full teacher replacement costs (6 school days)
  • Training in field research methods
  • Training in website content management
  • Detailed briefing materials prior to the expedition
  • Bush Blitz TeachLive merchandise.

This program will require a dedicated commitment by teachers. Successful applicants are expected to commit to the following.

Pre-survey commitments

  • Be available for a group induction and web training seminar (via a Zoom video call).
  • Have your own laptop available to bring to the Bush Blitz.
  • Plan a couple of suitable times you would like to video call (e.g., Google Meet, Skype, Zoom) your class from the field, or plan to film and edit a video blog.
  • Have reasonable IT and social media skills in order to post content and share your experiences via the Bush Blitz TeachLive website.
  • Be physically fit and active, and prepared to work up to 8 hours a day in the field.

During-survey commitments

  • For this expedition, you might need to allow at least one day before and after the expedition to travel to and from the expedition base camp as it is quite remote. We will be driving to camp together from Cairns.
  • Participate and engage in daily field activities, including any community events. Fieldwork times may vary and you will need to be flexible with your time (both daytime and evening fieldwork will occur).
  • Write and upload a blog each day to the Bush Blitz TeachLive website, including a ‘teachable moment’ or a fun activity, to ensure your students learn from your experience.
  • Set up at least one video call with your class from the field; or if reception doesn’t allow, put together at least one
    video blog including interviews with the scientists.

Post-survey commitments

  • Design and write an engaging teaching and learning curriculum resource (3 or 4 lesson plans) based on your experiences on the survey. This resource will be uploaded to the Earthwatch Bush Blitz TeachLive website. S e the resources provided by previous participants here: (https://www.earthwatch.org.au/teacher-resources).
  • After collaboration with fellow participants / scientists / Earthwatch staff, aim to implement a biodiversity-themed project at your school.
  • Contribute to an article on Bush Blitz TeachLive to Teaching Science (ASTA’s professional journal). The STA member participants may be requested to submit a brief article to their STA journal or newsletter.
  • Participate in ongoing evaluation of the Bush Blitz TeachLive program with Earthwatch Australia.
1.  Develop a two-minute (maximum) video submission

This will form the main component of the application. We feel it is a chance to let your real passion shine through! In addition, Bush Blitz TeachLive is centred on the use of technology to communicate to your students from a remote location. Therefore, a video application ensures that you are familiar with use of relevant technologies. We encourage all interested teachers to just have a go! Your video will only be viewed internally. In this video, you must include:

  1. why you would like to be involved in this Bush Blitz TeachLive expedition, and
  2. how you would use the experience to support your teaching to increase the benefit for your students.

Suggestions for those unfamiliar with video editing: Use smart phones for filming, and edit your video using free video- editing apps. For desktop devices, iMovie and Microsoft Video Editor are software which are often already available on Mac and PC computers.

 

2.  Upload your video application
  • Ensure that it is named “YourName_BushBlitzTeachLive_2022”
  • Upload to the platform of your choice (eg. OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox or YouTube) using a private link.
  • Share the video link with the following email address:  bushblitzphotos@hotmail.com. 
  • If you have issues with this process, please contact smccullough@earthwatch.org.au or projectofficer@asta.edu.au.
3.  Submit the written application form through the Survey Monkey form

The application form is in three parts.

Part A –  Applicant details including your name, school name, Principal’s name, jurisdiction, year level/s currently teaching, STA membership details etc.;
Part B – three selection criteria questions, listed below (max 200 words each);

Part C – asks you to outline your communications plan.

 

In order to help you prepare before you go online, here are the three selection criteria questions:

    1. How will your experience on a Bush Blitz TeachLive expedition enhance your STEM or geography teaching?
    2. How will you engage and enthuse your students back in your school while you are on the Bush Blitz TeachLive expedition? Give innovative examples.
    3. Describe how you will use your new skills and knowledge after you return, both in your school and wider education networks to ensure that students continue to benefit in the future? This may include ideas for biodiversity, environmental or sustainability projects or partnerships.
 

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.

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Email : asta@asta.edu.au
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