The Living World part 2: Stony Range Field Trip

Our science group had a wonderful field trip to Stony Range Botanic Gardens. The weather forecast had said 35 C and I had a fair few people wondering if it was a good idea to go on a field trip in such heat. But the trees provide plenty of shade and I think I’m correct in saying that everyone who turned up had a great time.

The kids ran around and looked at the plants, the adults had wide-ranging discussions encompassing science, teaching, parenting and discovering your purpose in life, and only one person left their water bottle behind. (It was an orange one. I thought I’d picked it up but I can’t find it in our house, sorry.)

I deliberately designed this field trip to be very relaxed. I knew that the Stony Range volunteers provide wonderful leaflets and so I only prepared a few questions for adults to talk about with their children as we went round, if they wanted to. The main aim was to experience the Botanic Gardens and see all these wonderful native plants in a natural setting.

We met up for snacks, then went round the gardens again. One family made masks out of the tree bark. And the adults spent so long chatting that the last people left a good three hours after everyone had arrived.

In this week’s class, the children who came to the fieldtrip can narrate to the others what happened, we can reflect on what they have learned and then extend it a little more.P1020067 P1020068 P1020069 P1020070 P1020071 P1020072 P1020073
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Stony Range Botanic Garden

What a lovely, peaceful place, a walk away from where we live, and just off the busy highway that is Pittwater Road.

Stony Range entrance

My family went for a quick visit to Stony Range today, partly to get the kids out of the house and partly to scope it out for a visit when my science group does their ‘Living World’ topic later this term.

We all had a great time. The garden is really small but the children loved following the trails on the leaflets, crushing and smelling leaves and even tasting some of them. They found stones that looked like a turtle’s shell, a waterfall, a ‘magic circle’, a mini rainforest and a bush tucker garden.

The volunteers who maintain this garden must put in a huge amount of work. There is a sign on the front noticeboard telling you what plants are in flower at the moment, with photos so you know what to look out for. A large number of the plants are labelled with botanical name and common name. Many of them have additional information, for example the uses that the Aboriginals had for different parts of the plants. There is further signage around the garden telling you to ‘look up’ or ‘crush and smell the leaves’, plus the leaflets I already mentioned.

We took about 40 minutes to look around the whole garden, taking in some of the information but not dwelling in any one place for too long.

The Pavilion

I have plans to take the science group on an excursion, with a checklist of plants and other features to look out for. The younger group will be focussing on identification of plants, and how different plants thrive in different microclimates. The older group will also be looking at the environment that plants thrive in, plus the interdependence of plants and animals (i.e. food chains). I think it will be a lovely field trip and we will all come back with plenty to discuss.

family on stone seat