Trail engages the senses of science

Dr Beryl Morris, Queensland Chief Scientist Professor Kerrie Wilson and Lorrelle Allan. | Newsreel
Dr Beryl Morris, Queensland Chief Scientist Professor Kerrie Wilson and Lorrelle Allan at the opening of the Engaging Science Trail in the Samford Valley. | Photo: Supplied by QUT

A new, interactive eco-trail has opened in the Samford Valley, north-west of Brisbane in time for the winter school holidays.

The self-guided Engaging Science Trail is a joint initiative between QUT’s Samford Ecological Research Facility (SERF) and Australia’s Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN).

The 51-hectare SERF property is one of 10 TERN national “SuperSites’’ of important biomes with intensive ecosystem monitoring equipment.

SERF manager Lorelle Allen said the new trail was developed by ecological researchers and site experts as a lasting contribution to Queensland’s scientific literacy.

Ms Allen said the trail included information about scientific research projects, with participants able to scan QR codes at 12 different stops along the way.

“But it is also just really beautiful with creek crossings, open pastures, Melaleuca forest, and a magnificent blue gum tree that is estimated to be between 300 and 400 years old,” she said.

The trail was opened this week by Queensland Chief Scientist Professor Kerrie Wilson who said it offered a “wonderful science experience’’ for Queenslanders.

Ms Allen said the trail opening was a great way to showcase the property’s natural beauty as well as the resources and infrastructure at SERF.

She said SERF was used by university researchers, under and postgraduate students to investigate the climate, environment, soil, water, vegetation and wildlife. Other organisations, such as school and community groups, could access the site by appointment.

“The (trail opening) event was also a showcase of SERF’s research infrastructure and included presentations and demonstrations in the fields of carbon sequestration, environmental drone research, long-term environmental monitoring, conservation of threatened invertebrates, and art science collaborations,” Ms Allen said.

TERN Australia director Dr Beryl Morris said the Engaging Science Trail allowed environmental science to be accessed, studied, enjoyed and questioned by students, government and industry.

“TERN is all about long-term ecosystem monitoring,’’ she said.

“Better than all the instruments we use are the people who help by making observations and recording changes in the environment in a consistent way.”

The SERF property was bequeathed to QUT by renowned Queensland entomologist Dr Elizabeth Nesta Marks and is managed by the university.

Partner content