Learning About Self, Others And The Environment - Year 8

"In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and the dry land, which his hands have formed." (Psalm 95:4-5.)

Last week, three Year 8 classes took part in the premier event of their GEOS subject, an epic four-day camp in the Great Otway National Park. Journeying through coastal, riverine, heathland and temperate rainforest ecosystems on foot, kayak and mountain bike, the classes explored the Surf Coast in near-perfect weather. The students worked together with peers to pitch their own tents, plan and prepare all of their own meals, navigate hiking trails and successfully organise their personal equipment.

To negotiate the complex challenges of the camp, the students drew from their developing collaboration, planning and interdependence skills. Communication and resourcefulness were also critical, especially as tiredness set in and food rations dwindled. All students embraced the spirit of GEOS, a proudly non-competitive subject where team-work and contribution are valued most highly. Their teachers were inspired to see the way each class developed throughout the camp, seeking ways to support each other and capitalise on diverse strengths within each group.

Throughout the journey each student considered their own connection to the natural environment, and made links between Indigenous land management of the past and potential issues related to conservation in the future. Students displayed the skill of ‘treading lightly’ throughout the week, causing only minimal impact on the land and learning skills they can use throughout their lives.

Student reflections towards the end of the camp revealed their intimate understanding of the value of learning in the outdoors, including building resilience and new relationships, solving immediate and very real problems, and improving health. During 2018, many of these students have elected to study the brand new Year 9 GEOS subject, where their new skills will be further put to the test during a 42km bushwalk through Wilsons Promontory National Park.

The next challenge awaits…


Georgie Brown

Outdoor Education Teacher


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