Milestone visit for Geoscience Australia's Education Centre

19 February 2016

Geoscience Australia's Chief Executive Officer Dr Chris Pigram presents a certificate to a student visitor.

Certificate handed to the 100 000th student
visitor to Geoscience Australia's Education

Geoscience Australia's Education Centre celebrated a significant milestone this week by welcoming a very special student visitor through its doors.

On 16 February 2016, the 100 000th student visitor attended the Education Centre to take part in a hands-on science excursion along with fellow students from the St Andrews Christian College, Melbourne, Victoria.

The milestone visit was marked by a brief ceremony during which the 100 000th student visitor added a distinctive black sand layer to the Education Centre's sediment column "visitor book". Geoscience Australia's Chief Executive Officer, Dr Chris Pigram, also presented a certificate and Earth science book pack to the school and a special memento to the milestone visitor.

"The students came away from their visits with an excellent introduction to geoscience, while also having a lot of fun," Dr Pigram said.

"We aim to charge the children with an enthusiasm to learn more about Earth science, and an understanding of how essential geology is to supporting our modern lifestyle. For example, they are often surprised to learn that we rely on over thirty minerals such as gold, aluminium and manganese just for the operation of our smart phones".

For over 15 years, Geoscience Australia has recognised the great value of building a more scientifically literate community by supporting Earth science education programs through our dedicated Education Centre. The centre's program focusses on encouraging an interest in and exposure to science learning in a very practical way. First opened in October 1999, the centre now welcomes nearly 10 000 students from across the country each year. The sediment column visitor book today boasts nearly 19 completed columns, representing approximately 26 metres of sediment layers, with a layer for every group that has visited.

The free hands-on and interactive science experiences, under the guidance of trained educators and subject matter experts, provide an introduction to geoscience, with an emphasis on Earth science topics relevant to the Australian Curriculum.

Many students who have visited Geoscience Australia's Education Centre over the years have later returned as participants in other extension science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs such as the National Youth Science Forum. A number of Geoscience Australia staff members are graduates of these types of STEM immersion programs and have gone on to become geoscientists.