The Australian Geography Teachers Association held the AGTA Conference this week in Hobart. The AGTA Conference is usually held every two years, and was meant to take place last year, but was delayed due to COVID.
Jason Byrne is a Professor of Human Geography and Planning at the University of Tasmania. His presentation focused on urban nature and ecology and ecological sustainability. Specifically, he addressed heatwaves, urban tree canopy mapping using machine learning and satellite imagery. and correlations with ABS data on population characteristics. You can read about visionary cities and sustainability in the Asia Pacific Network's - APAC Network - It starts with Cities
You can follow Prof Jason Byrne on Twitter at @CityByrne
Lorraine Chaffer's presentation on The Great Southern Reef was a highlight for me. If you want to access her really detailed case study on the topic, her GTA NSW & ACT Bulletin edition on the topic is amazing. For NSW schools this is a great option for Environmental Change and Management, or Ecosystems At Risk because it provides the opportunity for fieldwork that is relatively local. As always, her presentation was detailed and comprehensive, but also included lots of practical ideas to use in the classroom.
You can view the case study here: Australia's Great Southern Reef Kelp Forests
You can follow Lorraine Chaffer at @lorrainegae
Mick Law from Contour Education presented on spatial tools. These were a selection of easy to use options to provide student access to geospatial tools and activities. Some of his suggestions were: Scribble Maps, Global Forest Watch, Atlas ID and Earth Nullschool.
You can follow Mick Law at @Contour_Ed
Visit the website at Contour Education.
The theme of this year's conference was "The Active Geographer", and the conference included multiple field trip options. These field trips provide an opportunity for learning and inspiration outside of the usual lecture-style conference and were a great way to see some of the sites of Tasmania.
I attended the University of Tasmania's Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies for an afternoon. We heard a presentation from Cayne Layton about the ecology and restoration of kelp forests and related fieldwork undertaken by the team at IMAS. We were also taken on a tour of the facilities used in IMAS' Ice Core Project, and heard about drilling and handling ice cores, and were able to enter the freezer facility (minus 18 degrees) to handle an ice core.
Follow the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies on twitter at @IMASUTAS
Follow Cayne Layton at @CayneLayton
One of the whole day field trip options was a visit to the Mt Field National Park. This involved lots of windy, dirt roads and beautiful views as we ascended the mountains. This is one of Tasmania's oldest national parks and is home to glaciated landscapes, lovely waterfalls like Russell Falls and giant eucalypts and tree ferns.
It can be difficult to attend a national conference like this due to the cost and time needed for release (I pay for it myself so that I don't need to negotiate whether I can attend, because I think it is really valuable and want to make sure I can go). However, it is well worth advocating for yourself or one of your faculty to attend. It is a great way of staying up-to-date with geographical research, hearing what other geography teachers are doing in their classroom, and getting inspired to think about things a little differently. It is also a great way to build relationships beyond your school, region or state and develop your professional network. The next AGTA Conference in 2024 will be in Darwin - start planning now.
Deputy Principal at a Sydney high school. Coordinating author of the Geoactive text book series.