Ausgeo News  March 2006   Issue No. 81

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Students experience geoscience

Student examines sample under microscope.

Over 70 students attended two half-day workshops developed and presented by Geoscience Australia staff during January as part of the National Youth Science Forum. Under the guidance of a team of Geoscience Australia geoscientists, students used a range of datasets including geochemical, gravity and magnetic data, laboratory studies and geographic information systems to locate a 'new' gold deposit in the remote Burtville region of Western Australia. The exercise scenario allowed the students to simulate a typical Geoscience Australia working environment, where team work and the integration of disparate datasets were emphasised. The students also took the opportunity to question the Geoscience Australia scientists about their own career paths and choices. Most of the students have interests in chemistry, and since the workshops have a strong emphasis on physics, they left with a positive view of the breadth of the geosciences.

The National Youth Science Forum is a two-week program held in Canberra in January each year. The program is designed for students moving into Year 12, who wish to follow careers in science, engineering and technology. It offers students an introduction to research and researchers and an opportunity to develop their communication and interpersonal skills. Presentations and workshops are given by government and industry organisations to provide an insight into career pathways, and how science and engineering contribute to the strength of the nation through publicly funded projects and industrial research and development.

For more information phone Kate List on +61 2 6249 9571 (email

14th NSW Coastal Conference

Geoscience Australia participated in the 14th NSW coastal conference which was held at Narooma in the Eurobodalla Shire on the south coast of NSW between 8 and 11 November 2005. The conference is an annual event and attracts delegates from government, academia, the community and the private sector. It was sponsored by the NSW Department of Infrastructure, Planning & Natural Resources, Eraring Energy, GHD Services Pty Ltd and The Catchment Management Authorities of Coastal NSW.

The five conference themes were: the environment, planning, community, science and the economy. There were about 250 delegates who heard 40 presentations and viewed 10 poster displays over the three days. One poster outlined the formation of the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre at Eden in the Bega Valley Shire (Sapphire Coast). The centre will have three elements: a Research facility, an Education Centre and a Visitor Centre and is planned to become a world class facility within 10 years.

Image shows Wagonga Inlet, a wave dominated estuary.

Delegates also had the opportunity to participate in excursions including presentations on the Narooma Structure Plan which is a model for managing coastal growth in small coastal towns, the South Coast Shorebird Recovery program, the significance of healthy coastal ecosystems and water quality as they relate to the local economy (including recreational and commercial fishing, aquaculture and tourism) as well as an indigenous perspective on the coast from representatives from the Yuin Country.

Geoscience Australia's representative presented a paper on 'Sustainable Nitrogen Loads and Water quality in NSW Estuaries'. The paper reported on the amounts of nitrogen that can be added to estuaries of different morphologies and flushing regimes which are unlikely to result in eutrophication (see 'Clean or green—nitrogen in temperate estuaries' in this issue). This paper and the other conference papers and resolutions are presented at the conference website.

Narooma is settled around Wagonga Inlet and Montague Island rises from the sea-mist a few kilometres offshore. The accompanying image shows Wagonga Inlet which is a wave dominated estuary classified to be in a 'modified' condition by the National Land & Water Resources Audit. Prominent in the picture are the central basin, the training walls at the entrance and the extensive flood tidal delta formed by sand moving into the estuary from the sea.

For more information phone David Heggie on +61 2 6249 9589 (email

Related websites/articles

NSW Coastal Conference website

Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre

National Land and Water Resources audit

Australian estuaries

Unless otherwise noted, all Geoscience Australia material on this website is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence.