Taking place in Fairbridge, Pinjarra, from August 19 to 21, the camp will see 26 Girl Guides explore the local Peel-Harvey Estuary and use a range of field and laboratory equipment to learn more about the links between estuarine ecosystems and the creatures which live in them.
Murdoch University scientists Dr Fiona Valesini and Professor Richard Harper, the Alcoa Chair in Sustainable Water Management, have devised a packed itinerary for the girls which they hope will stir their interest in environmental science.
“This is the first time we have organised a science camp for Guides and we’re hoping it will inspire them to take more of an interest in their natural environment,” said Professor Harper. “We want them to understand how science can help people to appreciate and manage delicate ecosystems.
“We’ll be introducing the Guides to the creatures and plants which live in the Peel-Harvey catchment and estuary, like crabs, fish, molluscs, shrimp and worms and explain how they are affected by water quality and the human management of their environment.
“They’ll also learn how soils can affect the quality of water and will use various instruments to measure water quality. We’re hoping that the samples they take can be repeated by participants in subsequent years so we can build up a picture of what is happening to that system over time.”
Girl Guides from units in Joondalup, Kinross, Scarborough, Rockingham and Morley will be attending the science camp.
Sharon O’Brien, Assistant State Commissioner of Girl Guides WA, said they were all very excited about the camp.
“This is an excellent opportunity for them to learn more about their environment and why water is such a precious commodity in our state,” she said.
“We hope seeing plants and fauna in their natural environment will bring home just how important it is for us to maintain and manage their ecosystems.
“It might even inspire a few to pursue their interest in science beyond the classroom.”
The science camp has been inspired by the work of Duncan and Tracy Brothers who have developed a hands-on environmental biology program for year 11 and 12 students in Albany.