Term III in Australia: the Opera House to the Outback
August 09 2016
Term III at Elmira College offers students the opportunity to discover new subjects and topics through experiential learning and travel. Recently, Dr. Lynn Gillie, Associate Professor of Biology, and Dr. Mariam Khawar, Associate Professor of Economics, led a group of students to Australia for the Term III course, “Natural and Social History of Australia.”
Through this Term III course, students studied several different ecosystems and how the environment has influenced the people and culture of Australia.
In the classroom, students explored the geology, flora, and fauna of Australia and how it compares with that found in other parts of the world. Students also studied the history of the indigenous Australians, the history of the European colonizers, and analyzed the connections between the environment and the culture.
During their travel to Australia, students kept journals of their experiences and conducted independent research on a topic derived from the course content. Students also compared life in Sydney with other Australian cities including: Brisbane, Cairns, and Alice Springs.
The group traveled beyond Australian cities, and also explored forests, islands, and the Australian Outback. Other trip highlights included:
Hiking the temperate forest of the Blue Mountains and seeing lyrebirds (a ground-dwelling species of bird);
Visiting the iconic Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, and Taronga Zoo;
Sandboarding on Moreton Island, one of the largest sand islands in the world;
Holding a koala and feeding kangaroos at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary;
Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef;
Exploring the Daintree, the oldest tropical rainforest in the world;
Observing “Dreamtime” stories at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park;
Learning the history of the Stolen Generation;
And camping in the desert under the stars and visiting Uluru, also known as “The Rock” or “Ayers Rock.”