In February 2018, Dr Hannah Power and 13 undergraduate students travelled to Pacific Palms for a seven-day, six-night intensive fieldwork course as a component of GEOS3220 Coastal Environments and Processes. Staff and students stayed at Pacific Palms Caravan Park, a short walk to beautiful Elizabeth Beach near Forster.
The course aimed at developing student knowledge in coastal environments and processes. This was achieved through a combination of intensive coastal zone fieldwork, computer lab exercises, including using geographic information systems (GIS). Students used data collected in the field to identify geomorphological features, conduct beach surveys, assess beach sediments, and obtain wave measurements. In doing so, students gained an insight into how waves, currents, and tides shape the beach and other coastal areas. Teamwork was an important factor during the fieldwork and lab exercises.
Students were able to observe the large waves generated by Cyclone Gita, which occurred earlier in the week. The normally calm Elizabeth and Shelly Beaches had large breaking waves. Elizabeth Beach was even closed during the weekend we were there due to the heavy swell. Blueys and Boomerang Beaches were exposed to the anomalous northeasterly swell and students were able to witness beach erosion in action due to the large surf.
Field and laboratory work were paired with lectures delivered by Hannah Power, providing students with a deeper understanding of the coastal processes they were observing in the field. Guest lecturers also allowed an opportunity for students to see how the skills they were learning on the field trip, applied to relevant jobs in the field.
At the beginning, middle and end, staff and students ate together at group dinners. This allowed students to interact with each other and staff in a relaxed social setting.
If this course has you interested, consider enrolling in GEOS3220 in Semester 1, 2019. The course runs 1-2 weeks before the beginning of semester one.
Email Dr Hannah Power for further details.