Dinosaur trees, seawalls, symbiosis and Indigenous food preparation are some of the activities that participants of this year’s Science Safari can experience as they trek though the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. Identify Safari stations and complete challenges to receive a passport stamp.
This Sydney Science Festival event has been developed by advanced science students from Biological Sciences at Macquarie University in partnership Education and Research at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney to bring the Science Safari to life.
”Macquarie’s students have devised an incredible array of activities to get hands-on with Botanic Gardens science” says Christina McGhee, Education Team Leader at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.
“They’ve made dioramas of sea wall habitats, models of Indigenous methods used to detoxify plants and demonstrations of evolution using lego bricks! There’s fun to be had at the Science Safari for science nerds of all stages and ages”
“At our station, Safari participants can learn how scientists extract DNA from plants to unravel the mysteries of plant evolution, and they can take home their plant DNA sample” says Ben Carter, a student from Macquarie.
Ben says this activity will help participants understand how scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens use DNA to study plant evolution and plant diseases.
There are six interactive stations with themes that encompass conservation, evolution and disease.
Participants can even take home a Wollemi Pine after they complete the Dinosaur Tree challenge. The Wollemi pine was thought to be extinct – but through the work conducted at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and Australian Botanic Park Mount Annan, it can now be grown in gardens all around Australia.
“Our station will show you how to make cuttings of this critically endangered tree, which you can take home to grow in your own garden so come visit us to learn more about this fascinating dinosaur tree!” says student Amelia Armstrong.
The Science Safari event has evolved from a work integrated learning activity that aims to connect undergraduate science students with researchers external to their study institution.
The activity also enables students to develop their communication skills while showcasing scientific research to the public.
“It’s all about connecting our future scientists with current scientists, and embedding the importance of getting science out the community” says A/Prof Michelle Power from Macquarie University.
Science Safari will be presented to the public as part of the Royal Botanic Garden’s Living Laboratory program developed for National Science Week with support from Inspiring Australia on Saturday 11 August 11.
The program is also open to High Schools. Find out more here