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Gibberagong Environmental Education Centre

Gibberagong Environmental Education Centre

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Biophysical Interactions - Intertidal wetlands

Geography: Biophysical Interactions



Students will conduct a geographical investigation of the biophysical processes and how an understanding of these processes contributes to sustainable management of the intertidal wetlands at Bobbin Head.

They will collect and analyse field data using specialised fieldwork equipment.  Students will also use geographical skills and tools, such as maps, photographs, flowcharts and a vegetation transect, to increase their understanding of the nature and functioning of the four components of the biophysical environment.

Students will communicate their findings through developing an environmental impact assessment (EIS) for a fictitious proposed development of a function centre in the mangrove forest.

Special Note

This program requires a low tide day to enable the students to study the crabs. Please ask our staff when you are making a booking.

Inquiry questions

How does an understanding of the biophysical processes contribute to sustainable management of the mangrove environment?

What are the biophysical interactions which occur between components in the mangrove environment? 

What are the human impacts on the functioning of the biophysical environment in the mangroves? 

How can these human impacts be managed to ensure the sustainability of the mangrove environment?

What activities at a local, national and global scale are threats to the intertidal zone at Bobbin Head?

Learning Activities

Pre-excusion work

Students use the pre-excursion google site to familiarise themselves with the fieldwork area, learn about the features and importance of mangroves and complete topographic mapping questions related to the study site.

Excursion day


Students will use fieldwork equipment to collect primary data to investigate the interactions of the biosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and atmosphere in the mangrove forest. This includes taking measurements of the water, soil and air; collecting data on crab hole changes across the intertidal zone and a vegetation transect.

Students will observe and examine human impacts and management strategies at Bobbin Head as well as changing perspectives and uses of the mangrove forest over time.

Communication of findings

Students will prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for a proposed restaurant/wedding function centre to be built in the Bobbin Head mangrove forest.  The EIA will include: 

  • Use of a values continuum and list of stakeholders to understand differing perspectives on management of the area 
  • A precis map of the development
  • Use of the primary data collected from the four spheres to analyse the impacts on the biophysical interactions in the mangrove forest from the proposed development
  • A final recommendation

Excursion Locations

This program is offered at Bobbin Head. Click on the image to find out more about this site.

Sample Timetable

NOTE: Variations to timetable based on specific location, number of students and weather.

Time Class A Class B

Acknowledgement of Country, Welcome, Review of pre-visit material

10.20am Morning Tea

Data Collection: hydrosphere, lithosphere and atmosphere

Land use and management practices

Quadrat Study

Transect Study


Quadrat Study

Transect Study

Data Collection: hydrosphere, lithosphere and atmosphere

Land use and management practices

12.30pm Flowchart
12.45pm EIA of proposed development
1.30pm Lunch
2.00pm Conclusion and depart

Teacher Information

Download the program flyer

Excursion locations Bobbin Head
Bus access map

Map for access to venue will be sent with the confirmation

Please ensure you print a copy and provide to the bus driver on the morning of the excursion.


2023 DoE $15 per student - GST free

2023 Non-gov school cost $25 per student - GST free, minimum charge $575 per class. 

NOTE:  National Parks entry is $1.10 per student in addition

Class numbers and size

Up to 4 classes

Max. 30 students per class

Risk Assessments

Bobbin Head


What to bring

Backpack, medication, low-waste food, water bottle, sunblock, raincoat, hat, sturdy shoes, mask.

Students wear sports uniform.

Adverse weather
On days where the weather is unsuitable (see risk assessment), a Gibberagong staff member will contact the organising teacher to discuss alternative arrangments.
Medical notifications
Notify Gibberagong EEC by completing and returning the medical form before the excursion. This form will be sent out upon confirmation of booking.

Program Resources

Biophysical Interactions pre-excursion site

This online resource supports the fieldwork program and includes information, resources and activities to familiarise students with the inquiry questions, the study site, mangroves, mapping and the fieldwork tests. Students should view this resource and complete the first two pages of the fieldwork booklet before they visit. Please contact the Centre for more information.

Biophysical Mangroves Virtual Fieldwork Program

The Biophysical Interactions – Mangroves Virtual Fieldwork is an online resource to support students who are unable to attend the fieldwork in person.

Syllabus outcomes and content

Geography Stage 6 Syllabus 


The student:

P1 differentiates between spatial and ecological dimensions in the study of geography

P2 describes the interactions between the four components which define the biophysical environment

P3 explains how a specific environment functions in terms of biophysical factors

P6 identifies the vocational relevance of a geographical perspective

P7 formulates a plan for active geographical inquiry

P9 uses maps, graphs and statistics, photographs and fieldwork to conduct geographical inquiries

P10 applies mathematical ideas and techniques to analyse geographical data

P12 communicates geographical information, ideas and issues using appropriate written and/or oral, cartographic and graphic forms.


Geography Stage 6 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2009