At Heathcote we place a premium on 'hands-on' learning. As a result our students are provided with a wealth of opportunities to undertake excursions and expeditions, extending the boundaries of the classroom into the wider world. Whether it be a science excursion to Lady Elliot Island on the Great Barrier Reef, the annual overseas excursion to France or whale-watching for our marine studies classes, our students enjoy all the possibilities that exist to apply their theoretical understanding in engaging practical settings.
Lady Elliot Island Marine Science Excursion
In late November each year, Year 10 Marine and Aquaculture Technology students from Heathcote High School travel to Lady Elliot Island on the Great Barrier Reef for a fantastic four day excursion.
2015 was the sixth successful year where excursions to the island were organised by Mr Stolk, a Marine Studies and Science teacher. Two groups of Year 10 students travelled to the island last year. This year, there will be another two trips organised in November and December, 2016.
The students were amazed at what a great place the island is, with its beautiful untouched coral reefs in crystal clear water surrounding the small island, which takes about 40 minutes at a slow pace to walk around. Students got the opportunity see many marine organisms under the water, like manta rays (4m across), green and loggerhead turtles and a huge variety of tropical marine fish, both small and large. On the island there were thousands of sea birds nesting, many with newly born chicks, which were very cute.
Student accommodation was in permanent tents called "ecocabins", which have a solid floor and two double bunks, but the students spent little time sleeping in them as there was so much to experience. The food was excellent and there was plenty of it, including unlimited amounts of prawns at lunch and freshly cooked meat dishes during the evening, served in a buffet-style, which the students enjoyed.
During the day, students had heaps of time to snorkel the reefs. Another day the students got to go on the glass bottom boat to another beautiful area with large coral bommies filled with large schools of big-eye trevally. The resort also has a fish feeding daily, at the lagoon's edge, and guided reef walking. The resort has a swimming pool were the students can swim and relax. In the evening, we walked over to the western side of the island to experience the most awesome sunsets and great photo opportunities. At night, activities included turtle spotting, which is an amazing sight, with the large green turtles hauling themselves up the beach, digging a nest in the sand, and laying their eggs (a process which can take up to 5 hours!). There was also some friendly pool competitions held with the students.
Students in the Year 10 Marine and Aquaculture Technology class are given the opportunity to attend this excursion, dependent on them displaying a sound effort and excellent behavior across the school. The cost of the excursion includes all flights (a beautiful flight over Hervey Bay is the only way to get to the island), all accommodation and meals for the four days.
Many of our Year 12 students wrote in the year book that it was best experience and excursion they had been on in their time at the school!