On August 16, the three Year 11 Biology classes were lucky enough to go on an excursion to the Werribee Zoo for our unit on genetic diversity. During this excursions we engaged in two workshops lead by knowledgeable zookeepers. One workshop helped deepen our understanding of behavioural, structural and physiological adaptations of the Eastern Grey Kangaroo. Did you know that the collective noun for a group of kangaroos is called a mob? We discussed how these adaptations allow them to thrive in our native environment. We also spoke about sustainable Indigenous practices and their influence in decisions made about the land. The second workshop revolved around the threatened Eastern Barred Bandicoot (EBB). We collected data from quadrant sites that allowed us to dictate if areas could sustain the EBB. There were several discussions on bioethical issues regarding the EBBs conservation which helped apply our knowledge from previous units into practical skills.
After a fun and hands on experience of being field scientists, we were treated to an exciting and informative safari ride. On this ride we saw many beautiful safari animals such as camels, horses, giraffes, zebras, rhinos, hippos, antelopes and many more. We learnt all about exactly what makes them unique and how they live and adapt to their environments, for example the fact that hippos cannot swim or that a dazzle of zebra’s form groups and use disruptive camouflaging to escape predators. Rhinos roll in mud to protect their skin and how a camel’s hump is full of body fat. This is just a snippet of the many things we learnt on our trip. We were able to see firsthand these adaptations working and it helped us to understand them fully and to watch them working in real time. The safari was a surreal and engaging experience and the teachers also got very into it – coming in full safari costume!. This experience showed us how majestic these beasts truly are and I’m sure we’re all eager to revisit this moment as soon as we can. 10 out of 10 would safari again.
Maggie Dawson and Izzy McMahon – Year 11