About Bush Blitz TeachLive

Bush Blitz TeachLive is an educational and professional development program that places Australian science, math (STEM) and geography teachers as research assistants on Bush Blitz expeditions, where they learn scientific skills, and get to teach “live” back to their classrooms.

The TeachLive program was developed by Earthwatch Australia to inspire primary and secondary school students by real STEM research, increasing their motivation to pursue further studies in these subjects.

School teachers will work as research assistants on the Bush Blitz expeditions, helping scientists with vital research and data collection, while communicating their experience live back to their students in the classroom via the TeachLive website.

TeachLive program objectives
  • • Educate teachers and students about Australia’s biodiversity and the importance of conservation
  • • Inspire students to pursue further studies in STEM and geography subjects by exposing them to real and exciting scientific research in an Australian context and building their core skills and knowledge in science and biodiversity conservation 
  • • Inspire and build confidence of teachers to be scientific role models for their students
  • • Enhance the quality of STEM/geography teaching through building teachers’ scientific knowledge and research skills; and providing them with a transformational experience that motivates them to pass on this knowledge and skill to their students
  • • Encourage teachers to share their Bush Blitz TeachLive experience with their schools and wider communities, through implementing biodiversity and conservation projects or activities
  • • Provide a networking and knowledge-sharing opportunity for teachers
Eligibility

The Bush Blitz TeachLive team are looking for a committed but diverse range of teachers. All teachers who teach year 4-12 students are encouraged to apply.

You do not need to be STEM or geography trained nor an experienced teacher, you just need to be passionate about STEM/geography, and keen to share your experiences with your school community. Bush Blitz TeachLive provides the opportunity to broaden teacher knowledge and experiences beyond the classroom.

Commitments and expectations

This program will require a dedicated commitment by teachers. Please ensure you are able to meet the following expectations of the program: 

  • • Participate in an induction and web training seminar (via teleconference or video conference)
  • • Develop a sequence of 3 or 4 lessons (linked to the Australian Curriculum) for your replacement teacher to conduct with your class/es while you are in the field (template provided)
  • • Have reasonable IT skills in order to post content and share your experiences via the Bush Blitz TeachLive website (and other social media platforms). Training will also be provided.
  • • Be physically fit and active, and prepared to work up to 8 hours a day in the field
  • • Allow at least one day before and after the expedition to travel to and from the expedition base camp. Your transport and accommodation to and from the survey, as well as during the expedition itself, will be organised and funded by Earthwatch and other program partners
  • • Have your own laptop available to bring to the Bush Blitz.
  • • With your Bush Blitz TeachLive colleagues, design a conservation or biodiversity project or activity for your school to engage students and/or the wider education community.
  • • Take part in a post-expedition meeting (teleconference or video conference) with other teachers and Earthwatch staff to plan how to implement your new knowledge and skills once you return to your classroom.
  • Complete an online evaluation survey so we can insure continual improvements to the program

What does the fieldwork involve?

Taking part in Bush Blitz provides a unique opportunity to work with scientists in the field. No special skills are required. All research techniques will be taught on site, and the scientists and project staff will be with you if you have any questions.

Some of specific methods you may have the opportunity to use include:

  • • Using nets and traps to collect flying insects
  • • Setting and retrieving traps for reptiles and small mammals
  • • Using equipment to remove thrips, true bugs and other insects from their host plants
  • • Conducting surveys of spiders, snails and other invertebrates
  • • Collecting and preserving native plants
  • • Identifying a wide variety of both plant and animal species
Communicating with students

Website management training will be provided to teachers prior to the expedition. They will then use website technologies to communicate with their students from the field, through:

  • • Posting lesson plans for the week they are in the field (to be conducted by teachers back at their school)
  • • Posting daily diaries and blogs
  • • Sharing photographs and videos
  • • Video conferencing using external platforms such as Skype

Participation in Bush Blitz TeachLive is via a competitive application process. To register your interest, email your details to earth@earthwatch.org.au to be added to the mailing list, and you will be notified when applications open.

What is Bush Blitz?

Bush Blitz is Australia’s largest nature discovery project – a unique multi-million dollar partnership between the Australian Government through Parks Australia and the Australian Biological Resources StudyBHP and Earthwatch Australia to document plants and animals across Australia.

Since the program began in 2010 Bush Blitz has discovered over 1,600 of new species, and has added tens of thousands of species records to publically accessible databases, increasing our scientific knowledge to help us protect our biodiversity for generations to come.

There are many plants and animals still to be discovered by science. There are an estimated 580,000-680,000 species in Australia, but three-quarters of this biodiversity is yet to be identified. Forty-five per cent of continental Australia and over 90 per cent of our marine area have never been comprehensively surveyed by scientists.

Bush Blitz involves specialist taxonomists, indigenous communities, rangers and landowners, teachers, students and BHP employees. Together they are making an extraordinary contribution to the protection of our country’s natural heritage


Results to date

To date, Bush Blitz scientists - assisted by teachers and BHP Billiton employees working as research assistants in the field, have discovered over 1,600 new species through 34 expeditions, including:

  • • 479 species of spiders
  • • 439 species of true bugs
  • • 149 species of moths
  • • 105 species of bees
  • • 34 species of vascular plants

In addition to discovering new species, Bush Blitz increases our knowledge of species that are already known to science. Through Bush Blitz, scientists have:

  • • Extended the known ranges of over 250 species
  • • Generated records of more than 300
  • species listed as threatened, vulnerable or endangered
  • • Generated records of over 900 pest species

For more information about Bush Blitz go to http://www.bushblitz.org.au 

 

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