Biology Camp – 5 Days
Biodiversity & The Interconnectedness of Life in Two World Heritage Sites
While some biology camps spend lots of time in a classroom or in one location, this program introduces you to the incredible biodiversity of multiple environments in Far North Queensland. From the jungle-draped Wet Tropics to the sun-soaked Great Barrier Reef, this biology camp is designed to explore dynamic marine ecology as well as the terrestrial and human ecologies of this incredible region.
Twelve out of the world’s 19 families of primitive flowering plants grow here and within these families, there are at least 50 species found only in the Wet Tropics. In addition, this area hosts about a third of Australia’s 315 mammal species and 13 of these are found nowhere else in the world. Join us on a biology program taught by passionate educators who will inspire and ignite your students’ enthusiasm of the natural world.
- Help collect data on coral bleaching and coral predators at The Great Barrier Reef.
- Stay overnight at a research station and evaluate its rainforest ecosystem.
- Learn to fashion insect traps that allow observation of entomological diversity.
- Weave among the mangroves and test water quality levels.
- Learn from a marine biologist’s presentation about the reef.
- Rise above the Daintree Rainforest in a one-of-a-kind canopy crane.
- Tour James Cook University’s herbarium for unmatched examinations of plant species including some of Sir Joseph Banks’ collection.
- Perform biologist’s fieldwork with transects and quadrats and sketch a vegetation profile.
Benefits & Bonuses:
- All accommodation, meals, guides and transport to activities included
- Risk assessment provided
- Price Guarantee: price will not change once you sign up for your trip
- Expert guides – not “bus drivers”
- We cater to student special diets and swimming levels
- Goodies! Water bottle, field guide, cloth shopping bag and rainforest plot adopted in your name
- MAKE IT YOUR OWN – This trip is fully customisable. Ask us for details!
DAY 1: Arrival, Botanic Gardens, Ecosystems & Biodiversity Introduction
Arrival in Cairns: Welcome to Cairns! You are met at the airport by one of our staff and have an orientation and safety briefing. (flight needs to arrive by 10 am)
Botanic Gardens with Expert Botanist: Next an expert botanist/entomologist leads you through what is considered one of the best tropical gardens in the world. Here you learn the colours insects can see that humans can’t, how plant veins indicate its era and why the eerily-named Corpse Flower attracts thousands of visitors every few years.
Plant Evolution Trail: Then tracing a loop through the Gondwanan Heritage Garden, you witness how plants evolved as the continents pulled apart. You also learn how plant and insect interactions influenced the evolution of flowers. You meet descendants of plants that turned into our present coal beds, which ones killed Aborigines slowly over time, and the plant that was recently discovered in the Daintree Rainforest that was thought to have been gone forever. You also discover how, by a strange twist of geological fate, the Wet Tropics UNESCO World Heritage Area became the oldest continually growing rainforest on earth.
Daintree Rainforest: Next you cross into the incomparable Daintree Rainforest, the jewel in the crown of the Wet Tropics. For biology students, this is an important area for study: this area of the country has the highest concentration of primitive flowering plant families in the world, Australia’s rarest mammal (the Murina florious bat) and 13 species of birds found nowhere else on earth.
Accommodation: Your lodging for the night is in the brand-new facilities at the Daintree Rainforest Observatory and Research Station. Rooms are single gender, four- and six-bed rooms. These have access to a communal industrial kitchen, and an amenities block nearby provides laundry, bathroom and shower facilities. The remote location in the heart of the Daintree Rainforest along with the site’s rich biodiversity and modern amenities create a unique and inspirational learning environment.
Evening Light Trap Activity: Light traps are a fun and easy way to monitor the diversity of insects that are active at night within an ecosystem. Many night-flying insects are attracted to light and by leaving the trap out overnight you should catch a variety of insects to examine and identify in the morning. Your guide shows you how to easily make traps using upcycled bottles. You then record the species/ families of insects found in different ecosystems and you can compare them and make observations about what species are generalists / specialists.
Nocturnal Wildlife Spotlighting Activity: Tonight with your guide you can roam the rainforest to spot the Daintree’s elusive crepuscular and nocturnal creatures as they come to life as the sun sets. Your guide knows what signs to look for during this spotlighting exercise, and you may have a chance to meet the Northern Brown Bandicoot, Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo, or the striped possum as it leaps onto the rainforest’s giant fan palms.
Field Guides: Field guides, 101 Animals of the Wet Tropics and 101 Plants of the Wet Tropics are yours to keep and give you background about regional and endemic species.
Accommodation: Research Station Cabins
Meals included: Lunch and Dinner
DAY 2: Environmental Debate, Ecosystem Evaluation, Field Techniques and Marine Biology Presentation
Environmental Debate: After breakfast you participate in a debate which focuses on issues of development and effects on biodiversity. Students are given background information and a summary of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) about a major resort development proposed for Cairns and then given different roles to play of community members. This requires evaluating projected economic, social and environmental impacts as well as proposed sustainability efforts and then arguing for or against the development. This is a fun way for you to get involved with all sides of an environmental debate with a real-life example that has gained significant national media attention.
JCU Canopy Crane: The James Cook University research station is home to their canopy crane. After a safety orientation and a discussion about the significance of this rainforest by an on-site expert, you climb into a suspended gondola with the crane operator. The crane then ascends over the rainforest canopy, and can swing 360 degrees, surveying 1 hectare of the incredible biodiversity that has earned the Daintree UNESCO World Heritage status. This research station is only 1 of 3 of its kind existing in the tropics. (Students must be at least 15 years old. Activity runs Monday-Friday only).
Ecosystem Evaluation: While you wait your turn in the crane, you also divide into small groups and conduct an ecosystem evaluation. You duplicate field work that “normal” biologists would do to determine vegetation structure, health, and ecological function.
Transects and Vegetation Profiles: Within each ecosystem you evaluate biodiversity along a transect using quadrats. You learn how this helps assess vegetation composition, vegetation health, structural complexity, canopy structure, and ground cover. You then sketch a vegetation profile after using tools such as a clinometer.
Leaf Classification: Being able to know what type of leaf you are looking at while in the field is vital to identify the species of tree and it can also be used to classify the type of rainforest that you’re in. This activity is designed to give you the skills to identify aspects of leaves and to determine dominant leaf categories and thus rainforest type.
Water Quality Measurements And Swimming: Finally you discover the language of water and what it says about the creatures that can survive in it. You take water quality measurements involving indicators like Ph, nitrate, dissolved oxygen and phosphate levels. Testing for these elements may reveal the presence of fertilizers or biological extremes, which will also aid in your discussion about species survival rate and eutrophication. Afterwards you take a refreshing dip and head back to Cairns.
Marine Biologist Presentation: This evening you learn more about biodiversity and the significance of the Great Barrier Reef during this presentation taught by a marine biologist. From colourful corals that take whimsical shapes like broccoli, brains and baskets to a host of fish such as the chocolate-dipped damsel, the Picasso triggerfish and the giant Maori wrasse, you learn how to identify the most common creatures at the reef. You find out about threatened species and coral predators–such as the Crown of Thorns—and the consequences of climate change and human activity on the reef. More importantly, you learn about the real hazards at the reef (like the innocent-looking cone shell) versus the imagined ones (like scary sharks) fueled by Hollywood myths. You leave with a greater understanding of the reef environment and an appreciation of the natural wonder you are about to experience.
Accommodation: Cairns Budget Accommodation
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
DAY 3: The Outer Great Barrier Reef: Snorkelling, Biology and Data Collection
Eco-Friendly Reef Boat & Sustainability Expert: Early this morning you travel to the outer Great Barrier Reef on a sailing catamaran that has been awarded an Advanced Ecotourism certification. You have a sustainability expert devoted exclusively to your group for today’s experience as well. On your trip out to the reef he covers topics of your choice such as trophic interactions and the role of decomposers in ecosystems, the water cycle and the role of photosynthesis at the reef.
Sand Cay, Bird Refuge and Snorkelling: First stop is Michaelmas Cay – an important seabird island refuge and marine park. At its peak, during the breeding season, as many as 20,000 birds nest on the island. Snorkeling can be done right off the sand cay, giving you access to beauties such as luminescent parrot fish, the chocolate-dipped damsel, and the Picasso triggerfish.
Data Collection: At Your first location, you receive extensive in-water training on how to conduct the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Rapid Monitoring Survey. Your guide points out key features of the reef ecosystem and conducts a practice survey with group. Then during a timed snorkel session, you record your underwater findings. Your guide and waterproof slates help you identify a host of marine life and calculate benthic zone coverage. Most importantly, you look for signs of coral bleaching and coral predators which greatly affect the health of the reef. Your data is then collected and contributes to the central reporting system used by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) to manage the long term sustainability of this UNESCO World Heritage area.
Water Quality Sampling: Here you again measure water quality by taking temperature and vertical visibility readings using a Secchi disc. You learn how consistent measuring at the reef shows long term trends, which in turn is a good predictor of overall reef health.
Coral Predator Eradication & Community Service: Having students cover a large area of the reef site greatly increases the chances of coral predators being discovered. Once you identify coral predators such as the Crown of Thorns starfish, you then accompany your guide to learn the careful process of eliminating these harmful creatures from the reef.
Field Guide & Sightings App: 101 Animals of The Great Barrier Reef, written by Dr. Martin Cohen, helps you to better understand the underwater world and is yours to keep. You also learn how to log in sightings of your reef fauna and flora using an app downloadable to your phone or tablet, and your data is then sent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA).
Accommodation: Cairns Budget Accommodation
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
DAY 4: James Cook University Biology Workshop & Mangrove Studies
Biology Seminar: Today you head to James Cook University for a biology-focused workshop. JCU is Australia’s highest-ranked university in environmental science and offers marine biology studies not found anywhere else. Through a custom-designed interactive workshop today you have the opportunity to engage with world leading researchers and equipment.
JCU Aquarium: Here you get to explore a research, film and educational facility on the campus. The facilities allow you to observe some of the world’s deadliest marine creatures such as the Stone Fish and Box Jellyfish, while also learning about the important experiments being conducted with these creatures. You also learn about the ground-breaking work JCU scientists are having in developing anti-venoms.
World Class Herbarium: Books upon books of pressed and preserved plant species decorate JCU’s Tropical Herbarium, where you are invited in as privileged guests. The Herbarium is a biologist’s delight; it boasts over 160,000 specimens, cutting edge facilities for processing and curation, as well as research. Highlights include viewing the Spirit Room, do-it-yourself area for plant enthusiasts, and the very special specimens collected by Sir Joseph Banks aboard Captain Cook’s first voyage to Australia.
State-of- the-Art Mosquito Research Facility: Next you step into a ‘green-house’ style laboratory designed to replicate the preferred Australian breeding ground of the mozzie! You peer into microscopes to investigate larvae, and discover from scientists what experiments they are performing to control the spread of tropical diseases, such as dengue fever and malaria. You also learn how volunteers offer themselves up as “meat” for science.
Mangrove Biome and Boardwalk: At JCU you get to investigate a working model of a constructed mangrove biome– with true-to-life tides and resident crocodiles–which is a useful tool for studying effects on water quality, salinity as well as climate change mitigation. You then travel to a raised walkway which takes you through a natural and critical mangrove ecosystem which is the breeding ground for many important aquatic species. You learn how mangroves deal with a lot of salt in their diet, how they act as the baby nurseries of the marine world and why both humans and the reef rely on these complex systems.
Accommodation: Cairns Budget Accommodation
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
DAY 5: OPTIONAL Urban Challenge, Transfer and Depart
After breakfast this morning you have free time for last-minute shopping or souvenir purchases.
Optional Urban Challenge: If you have an afternoon flight, you can choose to spend the morning souvenir shopping, swimming at the lagoon or participating in Small World Journeys’ Urban Challenge! (no extra cost) The Urban Challenge is a fun team-building exercise that allows students to learn more about the history, nature, art and culture of Cairns. Small group teams compete against time in this treasure hunt-type activity in Cairns central business district. This is a popular activity for students and the winning team gets a prize! Then you are transferred to the Cairns airport for your flight home.
Transfer and Depart: You are transferred back to the Cairns Airport for your flight home.
School Excursion Fees Include:
- All activities as described in the itinerary
- Cairns airport transfers
- All transportation
- Small World Journeys guide on Days 1,2 and 4
- Marine biologist/naturalist on Day 3
- University researchers and scientist talks
- 3 nights at a central Cairns hostel (6- share rooms with ensuite)*
- 1 night JCU Research Station cabins (4-share single gender rooms with shared bathrooms)
- All breakfasts
- All lunches
- 3 restaurant dinners and one dinner cooked by students (we provide the food!)
- 101 Animals of the Wet Tropics, 101 Plants of the Wet Tropics, and 101 Animals of the Great Barrier Reef field guides for each student
- Mask, fins, and snorkel hire on reef trip
- A Small World Journeys reusable water bottle and cloth shopping bag
- 5 metres square of Daintree rainforest adopted in your group’s name through Rainforest Rescue
- Marine park taxes and levies
- Carbon offsetting through Sustainable Travel International (STI) for a carbon-neutral trip
- One teacher/leader FREE for every 10 paying participants
*Two private rooms (twin or triple) for teachers are included in the price of the trip. If additional rooms are required, a supplement of $195 AUD is incurred.
School Excursion Fees Exclude:
- Airfare to Cairns
- Personal expenses (phone, internet, laundry, etc.)
Land Cost to 31 March 2018:
- 15+ paying participants: $1285 AUD
- 10-14 paying participants: $1398 AUD
All accommodation is included. In Cairns you stay at a breezy award-winning hostel in the centre of the restaurant and shopping district (option to upgrade to hotel accommodation). Students like the tropical swimming pool, lounging in the hammock and playing billiards at the free pool table, while group leaders love the private ensuite rooms, air conditioning, laundry facilities and free internet/WiFi. In the Daintree Rainforest, students stay at a beautifully designed modern rainforest research station. Lodging is in single-gender quad share cabins with shower facilities and shared bathrooms.
All meals are included. You have a combination of restaurant and student-cooked meals (all food supplied). A typical breakfast is a selection of cereals, toast, juice and fruits; lunches are combinations of sandwiches and salads with fruits and a sweet, and dinners are a sample of BBQs, all-you-can-eat pasta and pizza, seafood treats and local favourites. Ask us about vegetarian, kosher and halal options.
Small World Journeys reserves the right to change the order of activities for logistical reasons.
HOW TO BOOK A TRIP WITH US (It’s easy!):
- Read our Terms and Conditions.
- Pay a $200 AUD deposit for the group (not per person – just a flat $200 to secure your booking) via our payment page or by direct deposit/cheque.
- Receive our Confirmation Pack which includes forms parents must sign.
- Have each student sign up via our Booking Form and pay for their trip by 60 days prior to the trip.
- Enjoy your trip!
Question 1: What will we eat whilst on tour?
Answer: We understand how important food is to young people – and heaps of it!A typical breakfast will be a continental breakfast including juices, cereals, toast & jams (and optional vegemite!) and a typical packed lunch will be a meat and salad sandwich, drink, chips, biscuits and a piece of fresh fruit. Café lunches and restaurant dinners will vary, such as pastas, pizzas, steak and salad, but we place a big emphasis on variety and healthful options. One night we have a typical Aussie BBQ and other nights we eat in restaurants.Best of all, we carry our snack box when we travel to ensure that no one is ever hungry.
Question 2: How do we arrange airfare?
Answer: We do not arrange airfare in house, however we do work closely with a couple of travel agents who would be happy to help:In Australia, we recommend Kim Salter, our Melbourne-based travel agent. Contact Kim at email@example.com or call + 61 0433 324 455 or toll free within Australia 1 300 640 821. In the US, we recommend: Sandra Marron at Millennium Travel California. You can contact Sandra at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-415-898- 7974.
Question 3: When is the best time to visit Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef?
Answer: Cairns is a tropical place, and outdoor activities can be enjoyed year-round. In our summer (December-February), the weather is at its warmest and wettest. You can expect hot days with occasional tropical storms, producing lush green hillsides and plenty of waterfalls. Average temperatures are 23-31 degrees Celsius/73-87 Fahrenheit.In our winter (June-August), the climate is at its most mild, with warm days, cool nights, and little rainfall. Average temperatures are 18-26 degrees Celsius/64-78 degrees Fahrenheit.Autumn (March - May) brings unpredictable weather - it can be warm and rainy or hot and sunny. Springtime (September - November) is the most predicable, and days tend to be warm to hot with little rainfall.The visbility at the Great Barrier Reef is at its best September - November, but can be enjoyed year-round. Come June - September for seasonal whale watching.
Question 4: Do we need to worry about jellyfish?
Answer: The box jellyfish are present in the northern coastal waters from November to April/May. The jellyfish are found close to shore—they breed in estuaries and very very rarely can they make it to the outer Great Barrier Reef. Most of the swimming beaches have “stinger nets” up during this season so people can swim. However, the tiny Irukandji jellyfish has been known on occasion to slip through the nets, and this is most often where people have been stung. It is a very painful sting, but there have been only 2 confirmed deaths in Australia due to the Irukandji jellyfish.The good news is that the jellyfish are rarely found at the outer Great Barrier Reef, where you will be snorkeling and/or diving. Most people swim on the reef without using any protection. According to the CRC Reef Research Centre, “In offshore waters around coral reefs, box jellyfish that cause Irukandji syndrome are usually well dispersed and the incidence of stings is very small.” Nonetheless, reef operators have “stinger suits” as well as wetsuits as an extra precaution.
Question 5: What happens if a student cancels?
Answer: If an individual student cancels from a trip within 30 days of the trip departure, no refunds are given. For this reason, we strongly encourage all parents to purchase trip cancellation insurance in order to protect against unforeseen circumstances which are the main cause for student cancellations.For more details, please see our Terms & Conditions.
Question 6: What is your safety record?
Answer: Our safety record is outstanding. Please ask us for teacher/supervisor references specifically regarding our safety measures and practices. We do risk assessments for every excursion we run. We carry a first aid kit in our vehicles, as well as on the guide's person when in remote areas. All guides are certified in first aid and CPR. We give every student a card with emergency numbers and safety information on it to carry, and we review safety measures as part of our orientation.Safety is absolutely our number one concern at all times. We do everything in our power to make sure each trip is as safe as it can possibly be.
Question 7: Do you do risk assessments?
Answer: Yes. We evaluate and re-evaluate the safety of each of our destinations and activities, and we always reserve the right to modify or cancel an itinerary if the guide feels that conditions are unsafe. We will gladly provide a risk management assessment specific to your trip on request. Small World Journeys' staff also adhere to a comprehensive Risk Management Strategy.
Question 8: What qualifications do your guides have?
Answer: Our guides have a government-issued approval that is only given after an extensive background check, and allows them the ability to work with children. Guides also have a Senior First Aid and CPR certification and government-issued Driver's Authority if they are driving a vehicle.Many of our educational adventures guides have higher degrees in environmental science, marine biology or experiential education, and there is one thing which unites them: a love for teaching young people about the outdoors.
Educational Outcomes for Queensland Biology Camp
Australian National Curriculum – Science
While this student excursion to North Queensland caters to Year 11 & 12 biology students (Biodiversity and the Interconnectedness of Life), its delivery can be tailored to science students in junior years studying the Australian National Curriculum.
Students will be involved with extensive field work, data collection, measurements, analysis, and enquiry. Activities and lectures are designed to inspire discussion and debate, including a real-life debate on a controversial local issue.
On this biology camp, teachers can tick all of the curriculum boxes, so to speak, on the list below.
Years 11 & 12 Senior Biology Unit 1: Biodiversity and the Interconnectedness of Life
Science Inquiry Skills
- ACSBL003 Conduct investigations, including using ecosystem surveying techniques, safely, competently and methodically for the collection of valid and reliable data
- ACSBL006 Select, construct and use appropriate representations, including classification keys, food webs and biomass pyramids, to communicate conceptual understanding, solve problems and make predictions
Science as a Human Endeavour
- ACSBL009 Development of complex models and/or theories often requires a wide range of evidence from multiple individuals and across disciplines
- ACSBL010 Advances in science understanding in one field can influence other areas of science, technology and engineering
- ACSBL011 The use of scientific knowledge is influenced by social, economic, cultural and ethical considerations
- ACSBL013 Scientific knowledge can enable scientists to offer valid explanations and make reliable predictions
- ACSBL014 Scientific knowledge can be used to develop and evaluate projected economic, social and environmental impacts and to design action for sustainability
Science as a Human Endeavour- Describing Biodiversity
- ACSBL015 Biodiversity includes the diversity of species and ecosystems; measures of biodiversity rely on classification and are used to make comparisons across spatial and temporal scales
- CSBL016 Biological classification is hierarchical and based on different levels of similarity of physical features, methods of reproduction and molecular sequences
- ACSBL017 Biological classification systems reflect evolutionary relatedness between groups of organisms
- ACSBL019 Ecosystems are diverse, composed of varied habitats and can be described in terms of their component species, species interactions and the abiotic factors that make up the environment
- ACSBL020 Relationships and interactions between species in ecosystems include predation, competition, symbiosis and disease
Science as a Human Endeavour- Ecosystem Dynamics
- ACSBL022 The biotic components of an ecosystem transfer and transform energy originating primarily from the sun to produce biomass, and interact with abiotic components to facilitate biogeochemical cycling, including carbon and nitrogen cycling; these interactions can be represented using food webs, biomass pyramids, water and nutrient cycles
- ACSBL023 Species or populations, including those of microorganisms, fill specific ecological niches; the competitive exclusion principle postulates that no two species can occupy the same niche in the same environment for an extended period of time
- ACSBL024 Keystone species play a critical role in maintaining the structure of the community; the impact of a reduction in numbers or the disappearance of keystone species on an ecosystem is greater than would be expected based on their relative abundance or total biomass
- ACSBL025 Ecosystems have carrying capacities that limit the number of organisms (within populations) they support, and can be impacted by changes to abiotic and biotic factors, including climate events
- ACSBL026 Ecological succession involves changes in the populations of species present in a habitat; these changes impact the abiotic and biotic interactions in the community, which in turn influence further changes in the species present and their population size
- ACSBL027 Ecosystems can change dramatically over time; the fossil record and sedimentary rock characteristics provide evidence of past ecosystems and changes in biotic and abiotic components
- ACSBL028 Human activities (for example, over-exploitation, habitat destruction, monocultures, pollution) can reduce biodiversity and can impact on the magnitude, duration and speed of ecosystem change
- ACSBL029 Models of ecosystem interactions (for example, food webs, successional models) can be used to predict the impact of change and are based on interpretation of and extrapolation from sample data (for example, data derived from ecosystem surveying techniques); the reliability of the model is determined by the representativeness of the sampling
Every activity is in line with the Australian National Curriculum – Biodiversity and the Interconnectedness of Life. For a complete list of curriculum outcomes matched with each specific activity, contact us!
How your trip supports the community
SUPPORTING LOCAL INDIGENOUS CULTURE: We acknowledge Aboriginal People and Torres Strait Islander People as the first inhabitants of Australia and acknowledge Traditional Owners of the lands where we work and our groups travel. Your trip includes activities and interaction with local Aboriginal people, the traditional owners of the land on which you are traveling. By taking this trip, you are supporting grassroots indigenous tourism ventures and encouraging Aboriginal pride in culture. We are proud to say that in the financial year of 2015-16, we gave over $28,000 in business to Aboriginal-owned ventures.
SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESSES: On this educational tour, we use locally owned accommodation, restaurants, and suppliers whenever possible to keep income in the community. This includes supporting farmers by purchasing locally-grown fruits and vegetables for you on your trip. We also give you a list of where to buy locally-made crafts and souvenirs so you can continue this support as well.
SUPPORTING LOCAL HOMELESS & NEEDY PEOPLE: We make both financial and in-kind donations to Rosie’s Friends on The Street, a Cairns-based charity. Rosie’s seeks to provide homeless people and people living rough a hot meal, conversation and a non-judgemental human connection. Small World Journeys’ staff also volunteer on Rosie’s outreach nights, and many of our students have made comfort packs for Rosie’s patrons! For more information on Rosie’s and other organisations to which we donate, see Philanthropy and Partnerships or ask us how you can incorporate community service with Rosie’s into your educational excursion
How your trip is “Eco-friendly”
ADOPTING A RAINFOREST PLOT IN YOUR NAME: We pay to have a 5-square metre plot of rainforest is adopted in your group’s name through Rainforest Rescue. On your excursion, your group will be presented with a certificate detailing the significance of this gift to the environment.
REDUCING WASTE: We give you your own water bottle and cloth shopping bag to eliminate the need for disposable bottles and plastic bags. By reducing our need for plastic bags and bottles, we avoid having these things go into landfills or into the tummies of our native animals. For more information on how we donate to The Turtle Rehabilitation Centre and other environmental groups, see Philanthropy and Partnership.
CARBON OFFSETTING: We calculate the total carbon footprint of your trip. Then we pay Sustainable Travel International (STI) to offset your emissions by investing in environmental and community-based projects. For more information about our carbon offsetting, see 10 Reasons Why We’re Eco.
How your trip is safety-oriented
REFERENCES: We have had hundreds of students travel with us, and our safety record is excellent. Ask us for teacher references specifically regarding safety.
VEHICLES: All of our vehicles are equipped with seatbelts for every seat. While this is not a Queensland law, we feel your safety is a priority. Our guides do safety checks at the start of each day of the trip. In addition, vehicles go through a Department of Transport safety inspection every six months.
RISK ASSESSMENT: We have a complete Crisis Management Plan, we assess risks of the tour and are happy to complete a risk assessment for you upon request. In addition, students are given a safety briefing during orientation, along with a card with emergency numbers, accommodation addresses and phone numbers.
GUIDES AND SAFETY: Small World Journeys’ guides hold current Senior First Aid and CPR certificates, along with government-issued Driver’s Authority and Working With Children cards (also known as a Blue Card). For more information on our guides, see The Small World Journeys Team.
“All aspects of the trip were satisfying - seeing the students enjoying the experience and learning in the process! Maggie [SWJ marine biologist] was the best - her knowledge and ability to discuss many and varied aspects of the excursion with the students was amazing - don't lose her! She was also ready to change itineraries if we felt it was a good suggestion. Her ability to answer the kids' questions or find answers for the next day was appreciated. I was pleasantly surprised having experienced backpacker hotels in the past - it was clean, relatively quiet, well located for our needs. Staff very helpful and I have no reason to suggest the need for change. I was comfortable with the staff input at all levels and appreciated all they did to make our trip the success it was. I would (and already have) recommended Small World Journeys to other school groups thinking of travelling to Cairns.”
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