South Cape York Catchments (SCYC) and Cooktown State School have held a Scientists in Schools partnership since 2007. 

Scientists in Schools, is a national program that creates and supports long-term partnerships between teachers and scientists. The program began in July 2007. Currently there are 2394 partnerships established across Australia.

SCYC Coordinator Jason Carroll has partnered with Cooktown State School’s science teacher Julie Kereszteny (winner of the 2010 Peter Doherty Award for Outstanding Teachers of Science). During the past four years, Ms Kereszteny and Mr Carroll have worked together to accompany secondary science students on field visits. Studies have included, pest fish surveys, wetland ecosystem function, weed mapping, riverine health assessments, water quality monitoring, tree planting and wildlife surveys.

The field excursions provided opportunities for students to participate in real science. Some of the information that students have collected over the years has been used to monitor the success of SCYC projects.

One project was based on student participation to measure the improvement in the health of Keating’s Lagoon after the construction of the feral pig exclusion fence. Due to generous funding from the Caring for Our Country program, and increased number of studenents have opportunities to develop  science skills by working on natural resource management projects around the region.

Many types of scientists are involved in the program including research scientists and engineers, post-graduate science and engineering students and people involved in applied sciences, such as doctors, vets and natural resource managers.

Recently, SCYC was recognised for its contribution to the inspiration of young Australians in science as part of the Scientists in Schools program. Queensland’s Chief Scientist Dr Geoff Garrett AO presented the award to SCYC’s Coordinator Jason Carroll in Townsville.

At the awards ceremony, Dr Garrett spoke of the importance of science and science education to the future of Australia. If you would like to be part of the Scientists in Schools program go to http://www.scientistsinschools.edu.au/ Just click on the ‘get involved tab’ for registration.

PIC Below: Julie Kereszteny and Cooktown School Marine studies class undertaking rocky shore studies. WITH SCHOOL KIDS

PIC Insert: Jason Carroll SCYC and Dr Geoff Garrett at the awards ceremony in Townsville.

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