Join the 2012 expedition.

Around Australia teachers and students are drifting back towards the school gates with a hop, skip and the ocassional kicking tantrum. Whichever corner and whatever mindset you find yourself in, this is an invitation to be part of the Expedition Class online learning community in 2012. Last year we shared the ups and downs of guzzling too many coconuts in a bid to fend off starvation on a remote PNG island, and then explored the Tasmanian wilderness with high school expeditioners for the Skullbone program.
This year I'd like your help on the hunt for itty bitty blobs of plastic and stray meat trays on the coastlines and waterways of where you live. We'll be journeying to the most distant and adventurous corners of Tasmania by bike, foot and kayak to scour the beaches for marine debris and I'll need a lot of extra hands. The purpose is to pick-up the rubbish, count, record, monitor and share the results of the beach clean-ups so we can get a better picture of the health of our oceans and shorelines. I'll be reporting daily from Tasmania but with schools signing up from all over Australia we can share a nation-wide picture of this very serious environmental hazard.
With experts to help us, we'll explore where the rubbish is coming from, what impacts it's having on the ecosystem, and what we can do about it.
Supported by a 40 page student workbook and teacher's guide and aligned to the Australian Curriculum, there's four months of seriously adventurous leanring ahead from July to November 2012.

Students actually on the expedition... really?
Yep, the idea is to get as many students actually on the expedition as possible. There are four selected high schools who will be providing 10 student expeditioners for four especially hazardous missions over the four months but any class can get their hands dirty in two ways;

1. For Tasmanian schools you can sign up to join me on a cleanup day at a beach near you. Together we'll collect, sort, catalogue and report what we uncover. The timetable will be available in the next e-newsletter. In total there will be room for 1200 students to be part of the expedition in this way.
2. If you're in a school, for example in Darwin, Adelaide or Geraldton, you can organise your own local cleanup day using our survey forms and report it back to the website for all to share. The aim is to get reports back from as many different locations as we can.  

Free participation and maybe more
It costs nothing to be part of the online adventure and all the resources will be available for download. In addition, we're offering a limited number of printed class resource kits for free. They're only limited by funding so if we get lucky with sponsorship and grants there could be heaps! Just email me something like, "Hey Andrew, put me on that list for the free resources but if I don't get them I promise not to chuck a kicking tantrum because I can still download and print them from the website in a few months."

New Bookend produced doco
Last April we watched as The Bookend's Ninna Millikin joined the South West Marine Debris Cleanup gang as they boated around the wild south-west corner of Tassie picking up rubbish. They're the inspiration for this year's Expedition Class project and you can watch Ninna's brilliant 10 minute doco from that trip now. It'll give you a good idea of what lies ahead for us.

Name the expedition

'Cleanup Australia Day' is already taken so we need a catchy name for this year's expedition. The best I've come up with is 'Coastwatchers 2012', but I've been told it sounds like a creepy Stephen King novel. The other possibility is, 'Our Big Dirty Backyard', but that hasn't been getting great feedback either! Please email me your suggestion for the expedition name and if it's a good one I'll use it and send you a t-shirt.
So that's the plan for this year. An expedition that everyone can be part of, hopefully you.

Posted Tuesday, 14 February 2012, 02:09 PM

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