IWC Masters students meet on North Stradbroke island
Using pieces of driftwood and other jetsam, students created three-dimensional conceptual models in the sand to effectively communicate the biophysical, ecological, social, economic and political dimensions of water management.
Students benefited from the island's sandy beaches, freshwater lakes and natural beauty for first-hand experience of complex water management issues.
The students come from diverse backgrounds such as civil engineering, social science, environmental management, biotechnology, marine science, business, economics and law. They bring with them an enormous amount of professional experience to share as they learn from academics and each other.
"This field trip is always a wonderful way for students to get to know one another and to immerse themselves in the complexities of integrated water management in a beautiful setting with a wealth of learning opportunities," said Dr Brian McIntosh, IWC Senior Lecturer and Education Program Manager.
"We learn about and relationships between community, ecology, economy and water on the island, and, of course, about more integrated water management."
Multidisciplinary teams of lecturers and students explored the island's sand mines, lakes and fresh water swamps that act as windows into the groundwater table and listened to views and ambitions from across a range of stakeholders.
Guest presenters included representatives from the Queensland Government, the Quandamooka people, Stradbroke Island Water Action Group and the global minerals/sand mining company Sibelco.
Each representative gave their views on current environmental management practices and discussed the future of the island.
"What I retain from this trip is the importance of effective communication,” said one student. “There are no wrong opinions, only different ones. The key is to bring everyone to the same level of understanding and move forward from there.”
“It was a fun and educational trip and a great opportunity for all of us to bond,” concluded a student.
Note: the North Stradbroke island field trip is usually conducted at the beginning of the Master of Integrated Water Management program, in late February. However, the February trip had to be cancelled this year due to bad weather conditions and postponed to May.