Frank is a third year university student from the USA on a Study for International Training (SIT) Australia program: Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology.
“The program emphasises experience based learning, which meant I had to seek out an internship opportunity. I was recommended to undertake my five week research with the Wet Tropics Management Authority.
After further consultation with staff my research focused on environmental education for upper primary school children in the Cairns region. My research was based on interviews as I wanted to gather in-depth answers from key educators in the region. I also observed and learnt alongside kids that went on a forest conservation field trip. From these experiences and interviews, I gathered enough information to gain insight into this very exciting yet challenging area of work, and to write my paper.
The paper highlights various aspects of environmental education in Cairns including: successful programs of environmental education in the region including examples from the Authority, and school programs; and the impact of the Australian curriculum on teachers and its effectiveness, or lack of, in enabling teachers to teach and students to learn about the environment. I also provide recommendations to the Authority to strengthen their role in environmental education, and in supporting teachers and raising awareness within the Cairns community.
None of this work would have been possible without the help of Authority staff and I am very thankful to them for accommodating my transport needs; their guidance; and the many enlightening conversations and light bulb moments had in and outside of the office. It has been an amazing experience working with an organisation that is so passionate about the Wet Tropics.”