Illalong News

  • 21st August, 2018

Lessons from the Swamp!

Mangrove ecosystems tend to be viewed merely as a smelly, muddy, swampy environment. When we take a closer took, however, we find that the ecosystem is inhabited by a large variety of crabs, insects, birds and other animals which call the mangroves their home.

This term, Year 11 Biology students studied mangrove ecosystems as part of the Generative Topic, When Man and Nature Collide. Students focused on studying the importance of mangrove ecosystems, the relationships mangroves have with other organisms in their habitat, as well as some of the adaptations of mangroves here on the coast.

Mangroves are important for preventing coastal erosion, providing coastal protection from storms, biodiversity protection, providing food, as well as the storage of carbon. It is important for students to study and monitor mangrove ecosystems, in order for them to understand how to protect and manage mangroves for everyone’s benefit in the future.

On 25 July, as part of a research task, students travelled to Jacob’s Well to collect data and find out, first-hand, how humans have impacted on the health of mangrove ecosystems. Students worked with Lindsey and Iain from the Jacobs Well Environmental Education Centre, to collect data at two different sites in the area. At one location, human impact was noticeably evident, and this was compared to another location where there was much less evidence of human impact. They were then able to use some of this data in their assignments to justify recommendations to minimise impact on the health of the mangrove ecosystem in the development of a proposed tourist park.

Biology student, Sofie Cripps, writes:

“Our adventure to the mangrove ecosystem at Jacobs Well ignited our inner passion for environmental studies. We were all able to see first-hand why it is essential on a local, national, and global scale for us to maintain and reduce civilisation's negative effect on the biological parameters in a mangrove system.

As one of the younger generations in the world, this excursion was essential to inspiring us to make change in the future. Not only this, but it was extremely fun and certainly something we would not have been able to experience on an everyday basis! By the end of the day we had mud caked up to our calves, Mrs Dewar had lost her shoe (but was thankfully able to recover it!), and we went on a mini archaeological hunt when we found a hipbone from an unknown animal. It truly was a journey to remember!”  Sofie Cripps, Year 11

Robyn Dewar
Science Teacher

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