Youth, sex and media

Professors Catharine Lumby and Alan McKee and Associate Professor Kath Albury, lead investigators on Young People, Sex, Love and Media, an Australian Research Council research project, are holding a free workshop next month for teachers and other educators to learn about the research and swap insights.

Part of the research has involved focus groups with young people aged 13–17 in high schools, talking to them about where and how they have learned about sex, love and relationships and how media, including social media, fits into their understanding of themselves and their relationships to others. Teachers are invited to attend the entire day or to sit in on whichever sessions are of particular interest.

Session 1 is on Sex Education and Relationships, session 2 on Sexting and Sexual Self-representation and session 3 on Social Media. Breakout groups will include Policy Development for Educational Trainers, Implications for Young People’s Physical and Mental Health and Media in the Sex and Relationship Classroom. The workshop will be held at Macquarie University on Friday, July 10. Click here for more information.

Orphans recovering from electrocution awaiting milk bottles
Photo: Sarah Curran, Sydney Wildlife

Go batty!

Take your class to the revamped bat shelter in the Lane Cove National Park that every year cares for about 100 orphan and 500 adult flying foxes suffering from man-made and climatic problems. The shelter is adjacent to the revitalised Kukundi sensory garden and interactive nature trail for children. Flying foxes (fruit bats) play a critical role in forest biodiversity, travelling widely to pollinate and spread seed as they forage and roost but their populations are declining due to deforestation, being caught in netting wire or injured from extreme weather. Both the bat shelter and nature trail were upgraded last month by electricity distributor Jemena. Visit the Kukundi centre and see how Sydney Wildlife and WIRES cares for injured flying foxes, including babies. Volunteer Storm Stanford says non-vaccinated people should avoid touching the fruit bats. The bat crèche work is largely volunteer-driven. You can support them.

Learn from earth scientists

Interested in earth sciences and living in the Hunter Valley? You and your class might want to attend meetings put on by the Hunter Earth Science Discussion Group (HEDG) aimed at promoting geoscience in the community as well as increasing discussion between geoscientists.

The meetings, sponsored by the Geological Survey of NSW (Resources and Energy NSW) and the Geological Society of Australia, Hunter Valley Branch will provide opportunities for students to network with professionals. All visitors are welcome. The following meetings will be held at 6pm at the Newcastle Museum. For more information contact Phil Gilmore.

June 9: Metamorphism, mineralisation and metallogenic mapping: Insights from Broken Hill
August 18: National Science Week presentation: Making waves — the science of light
October 13: Earth Science Week presentation: Visualising Earth systems
November 24: New earth sciences research from the University of Newcastle

Cultivate an agri-career

Students from years 9-11 can get the lowdown on career pathways in agriculture, agri-business and science at a one-day expo at Sydney Olympic Park on Wednesday, July 29. Find out about school-based apprenticeships and traineeships. There’ll be 50 comprehensive hands-on workshops that allow students to explore agricultural trades and business in a practical learning environment from experts coming in from all over the state. Students will gain insights into animal and veterinary science, agricultural science and engineering, forestry and fisheries, agri-business such as finance, marketing, management and communication. They will gain an awareness of the study patterns needed.

AgVision was originally developed by Junee High School and is being offered in Sydney this year by the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW in conjunction with Junee High. Tickets, including lunch, are $10 per student. Registrations close on July 15 but it would be good if schools can give advance indication of possible numbers. Contact Danielle Krix on email or on (02) 9704 1147.

Dirtgirl shows the way at National Tree Day Planet Ark

Trees please

Parents are as swayed by natural school grounds as academic reputation when it comes to their child’s school, Planet Ark says, encouraging teachers to sign up for Schools Tree Day on Friday, July 24. Students can install vertical gardens or plant trees or vegetables, spending the time to learn about the natural world and understand how good it is to be outside. Lesson plans and curriculum resources are available for early learning, primary and secondary schools, produced by Planet Ark with Cool Australia and dirtgirlworld. Last year, about 280,000 schoolchildren planted trees on the day. Register here.

300m year walk

The Newcastle Time Walk — a stroll back through 300 million years — will be a highlight of National Science Week in August. It’s a free event.

Participants will have the opportunity to be field geologists for a day and be led by professional geologists on a 6km walk along the Newcastle foreshore discussing the numerous spectacular geological features.

The walk is expected to run for three to four hours. The trip will start at Nobbys Head, where a spectacular volcanic dyke can be seen, with distant views of 360-million-year-old volcanic rocks. Beach deposits tell stories of past sea level changes and recent offshore volcanic activity.

Later, along the coast, participants will see coal layers and shales containing plants fossils — remnants of forests that were throughout Gondwana more than 250 million years ago.

The walk starts at 9am on Sunday, August 23. It is being organised by the Geological Survey of NSW (NSW Department of Industry, Skills and Regional Development). Contact Simone Meakin for more information.

Learn the Ginger Meggs story

Cartoonist Jason Chatfield sent Federation this recent strip

Ginger Meggs: Australia’s Favourite Boy explores the story of Australia’s longest-running comic strip at an exhibition starting next month at the Museum of Sydney. It features original strips by Ginger’s artist “father”, Jimmy Bancks, and his successors Ron Vivian, Lloyd Piper, James Kemsley and Jason Chatfield, along with a wonderful collection of Ginger Meggs memorabilia.

While real-life school has changed since the invention of Ginger’s Principal Flogswell and Mr Canehard the mischievous character’s escapades still echo the experiences of millions of Australian children. The strip appears in 120 newspapers in 34 countries.

The exhibition shows how while “Ginge”, as he is affectionately known and his loyal gang never grow a day older, the world around them has changed dramatically.

Readers have seen Ginger and his gang, his girlfriend Minnie Peters and enemy Tiger Kelly, evolve from the 1920s world of billycarts, wireless radios and cricket games played in the street to the computer-drawn strips of today in which he laments the loss of internet connection.

Visitors to the exhibition can try their own hand at drawing Ginger Meggs.

Ginger Meggs has appeared in road safety campaigns, in Australia’s space program, on one-dollar coins and stamps, was drawn on sides of Australian airplanes in World War II, and has a park in Hornsby named after him.

The exhibition runs from July 25 to November 8 at the Museum of Sydney. Costs for school groups vary depending on the education program booked but tickets for a general visit (with no specific education program) would be at the concession price of $5.

Call for foster-carers

There is an urgent need for caring professionals such as teachers to become foster-carers. A total of 19,500 children are currently in care around the state — it is estimated that 450 new foster-carers are needed over the next 12 months. Foster carers can make a real difference to a young person’s life — at that critical stage where foundations are laid for the future. Young people need a stable and safe environment to participate fully in life’s opportunities; foster carers provide this to young people who are unable to live at home safely or are at risk of homelessness. To find out more, click here.

Concert for victims of Agent Orange

A peace concert to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Australia’s “Poet Lorikeet”, public school teacher Denis Kevans will be held on August 23 to aid the millions of victims of Agent Orange both in Vietnam and Australia.

Even 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War there are more than four million victims in Vietnam of Agent Orange bombings, some of them children, the third generation suffering from this scourge, says Agent Orange Justice which is organising the concert, Agent Orange … Agent Blue.

Event organiser Lee Jefferson wrote of Denis Kevans — a regular contributor to Education — in an obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald: “His was the voice that turned hundreds of preservation campaigns and human rights concerns into ditties, songs, verse and script. A Kevans poem became the fiat on any issue, from a local council zoning matter to the stance to take on a foreign war.”

“Kevans, known for the last 30 years as the ‘poet lorikeet’ of Australia (a pun on poet laureate) was always regarded as ‘the people’s poet’ because of his close identification with Aborigines, Irish political prisoners, the workers’ movement, environmental causes, republicanism and the anti-war movement.”

The peace benefit concert featuring leading artists and writers will be held from 4–8pm on Sunday, August 23 at the Gumbramorra Hall, Addison Road Community Centre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville. Donations of $25 or $15 (concession) for entry. All proceeds go to the Agent Orange Justice campaign.