The following programs are designed to incorporate AusVELS. They provide an effective and integrated approach for teaching across the Domains. Each program is led by a Royal Botanic Gardens secondary teacher and can be adapted to suit individual group needs. Teacher professional development workshops are also available on request.
All programs 1 hour and 45 minutes in duration.
10.15am – 12.00 noon
12.30pm – 2.15pm
Program prices (domestic)
$11.55 per student (includ. GST)
$208 per class, for small groups (Minimum Charge)
Teachers / Adults free
Bookings and information
Melbourne bookings and information
T 03 9252 2358
Cranbourne bookings and information
T 03 5990 2200
- Secondary education program flyer (MS Word - 66 kB)
- VELS Program Guide Cranbourne (MS Word - 108 kB)
The Carbon futures program takes students out of the classroom and into the bush to gain a practical look at carbon in the environment. Students will learn about how carbon works in different natural systems through ocean acidification experiments and measuring carbon in trees. Students will also discover the many other services a forest has to offer people anywhere on the planet. The program also aims to connect schools in Australia with subsistence school communities in Timor Leste, as part of WithOneSeed's open education and reforestation initiatives.
Threatened Species- Southern Brown Bandicoot NEW
The Southern Brown Bandicoot is a nationally threatened small mammal that is locally common and active during the day at Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne due to a highly successful conservation program. In this fieldwork based program explore what bandicoots need to thrive in a heathland environment. Discover what has been done to protect this remnant population and the landscapes they call home. Activities include: Discovery walk, simple fieldwork exercise (transect) and fire ecology task.
Australian Deserts NEW
Deserts are challenging places for people, plants and animals to survive. They are environments of extremes where unpredictable change is normal. Students will learn about how living things survive in hot, dry deserts and the causes of desertification. Pot up a drought tolerant plant and examine the features that Australian plants have evolved to allow them to conserve water. Explore the Arid Garden, the Red Sand Garden and the Dry River Beds of the Australian Garden and discover what makes Australia deserts unique.
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A Shared Country Indigenous Program
Discover the importance of the environment to the Koolin people and how plants were used for food, fibre, medicine and tools. Experiences include a discovery walk, examining artefacts, ochre art and plant food tasting.
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Bushfoods Indigenous Program
Discover some of the indigenous food plants of the region and Australia generally. Find them growing in the bush and the garden and learn how they are prepared. Experiences include a discovery walk, grinding and tasting wattle seed, Lemon Myrtle tea and other plant leaf products.
Stewardship of our Land
This program encourages students to connect with nature by exploring Indigenous spirituality, our reliance on the environment for survival, the interconnectedness of all living things and the beauty and diversity in nature to encourage stewardship of the environment. Experiences include creating a ground mosaic, sensory perception, potting up a habitat/bush food plant, a guided meditation and discussion of an environmental story.
Art of the Australian Garden
Join us in a visual discovery of the Australian Garden and be inspired to new creative heights by contemporary interpretations of the Australian landscape. Using textural and organic materials as well as photography, discover and depict your own connection to this exciting environment. Activities include ochre mapping of country using traditional materials, photography throughout the garden, and creating a sculptural ground mosaic.
Wetlands Water Quality
Wetlands are fascinating places to explore. They harbour an incredible collection of flora and fauna and yet they are fragile environments. Explore our wetlands by ponding for water fauna and testing the water quality. Experiences include a discovery walk, measuring turbidity, pH, temperature, conductivity, nitrogen levels, dissolved oxygen, orthophosphate levels and identifying aquatic animals and their indicator status.
Explore the award-winning contemporary cultural interpretation of the Australian Garden and our remnant native bushland, and discover the iconic Australian plant and animal communities that live there. Experiences include a discovery walk, ponding and treasure box.
Sustainable Gardening: Water in a Dry Country
Gardening is a productive and creative form of expression. Learn how to be creative while you help conserve our precious biodiversity and water resources. Experiences include group workshopping a landscape design, mulch sculpture construction, potting up a plant and worm farming.
How can we become active conservationists at a local level and be a part of positive global change? This program provides an authentic hands-on learning experience focusing on Victorian environmental issues and providing strategies for action at home. Experiences include a discovery walk, making a treasure box, potting up a native plant and worm farming.
Climate change is now accepted as a reality that we have to address globally. Find out what it means for us and what we can do about it. Take home a drought-tolerant carbon-fixing plant, and find out how to creatively manage and store water while reflecting on the bigger picture solutions.
Fire and the Australian Environment
Observe first hand how fire stimulates Australian plants to set seed and grow. The Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne uses fire as a management tool to encourage biodiversity and provide habitat for native mammals. Measure the total fire fuel load, observe the weather conditions and learn about plant adaptations to fire. Experiences include a discovery walk, exploration of plant adaptations, succession after fire and calculating the overall fuel hazard for a set site.
Water and open green space are 2 of the most critical issues in planning future cities. Australia is the driest inhabited continent and we are nearing the limit of supply through established infrastructure. Can changes to the management of stormwater and other waste water help solve some of these problems? Activities include fieldwork assessment of the chemical and physical properties of water, bio-indicators, habitat and other amenity providers.
- Problem based learning units
Weelams not Wigwams
This program involves group work that teaches cooperative learning in an Australian cultural and bush setting, making use of bush materials. Experiences include cultural introduction/discussion, discovery walk and Weelam construction.
Conserving the Southern Brown Bandicoot NEW (VCE Environmental Science Unit 3)
The Southern Brown Bandicoot is a nationally threatened small mammal that is locally common and active during the day at Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne due to a highly successful conservation program. In this fieldwork based program explore what bandicoots need to thrive in a heathland environment. Discover what has been done to protect this remnant population and the landscapes they call home. Activities include: Discovery walk, transect and fire ecology task.
Investigating Terrestrial Ecosystems (VCE Biology Unit 1)
Identify plant communities and conduct a transect survey. Use a dichotomous key to classify plants in the wetland or heathland ecosystems. Observe plant adaptations, special relationships between organisms, population dynamics, identify human influences and changes over time.
Fresh Water Ecosystems (VCE Biology Unit 1)
Investigate a wetland environment and identify aquatic animals. Learn how species collected can be used to indicate pollution. Perform a habitat survey and test the water for physical and chemical parameters.
Changing the Land (VCE Geography Unit 3)
Investigate how land use at the Cranbourne Gardens has changed over the last 200 years from the traditional lands of the Boon Wurrung through to the current tension between urban expansion and conservation. Examine the changes over the decades on aerial photos and maps, conduct a transect and other fieldwork activities.
Changing Landscapes (VCE Outdoor and Environmental Studies Unit 3 and Unit 4)
In our remnant bushland setting, discover the perceptions and uses of the environment made by traditional indigenous Australians, early settlers and contemporary society.