For the fourth year running, the Australian Museum hosted the Sydney Science Trail (August 14-19) – and with record-breaking numbers! Learn how our scientists, education and programming teams took part in this jam-packed program with primary and secondary students, teachers and families.

Sydney Science Trail (SST) is a unique opportunity for students to experience, think, and talk about the science conducted at both the Australian Museum and the Royal Botanic Garden of Sydney. This year was no exception – more than 57 organisations were involved in SST, with 31 AMRI scientists and 28 education experts (including several staff from our Climate Solutions Centre, Public Programming team and First Nations team) taking part throughout the week to teach the public all about the wonderful science that happens behind the scenes at the Australian Museum.

Incredibly, we welcomed record-breaking numbers to the AM, including 1,777 students from 35 schools and home school networks over five days and an incredible 7,536 visitors to the Australian Museum’s Community event on Saturday 19 August!

Sydney Science Trail Community Day - 19 August 2023

Nadiah Roslan at the AM teaching kids all about FrogID on the Community Day.

Image: David Swift Photography
© 2023 Australian Museum

There were many parts to this mammoth week, and our scientists and staff took part in the following:

Talking science and workshops!

“It was a brilliant day with knowledgeable and sound experts. They were a credit to the institution. We will definitely be booking again next year.” Teacher feedback.

Throughout the week, our fantastic scientists took part in a series of panel talks and workshops at the AM and at the Royal Botanic Garden of Sydney. Dr Yi-Kai Tea spoke passionately about scientific innovations in Ichthyology and Dr Jodi Rowley taught us about the growing field of citizen science with FrogID. In addition, Dr Greta Frankham spoke on a panel discussion about 'Wildlife Detectives' as part of the Nights at the Museum: Celebrating National Science Week event. A fun time was had by all!

At the AM on Monday and Tuesday, our fantastic Australian Centre for Wildlife Genomics team worked with the AM Education team to deliver a series of ‘Cracking the Genetic Code’ workshops, teaching kids all about the application of DNA and more.

Expertise in the Expo

“Just wanted to say a huge thank you for our time in your beautiful Museum today - it was literally out of this world and all students enjoyed it.” Teacher feedback.

From Monday to Friday (14-18 August), our scientists were part of the Expo, representing each branch of AMRI. Staff from Collection Care and Conservation, the Australian Centre for Wildlife Genomics, our Digitisation and citizen science teams, Arachnology and Entomology teams and Marine Invertebrate and Ichthyology scientists all took part across the week. From a live crayfish and upside-down jellyfish, to seeing shocking and inspiring spider specimens, kids loved learning about science at the Museum in a variety of ways. Our fantastic education teams were at the Expo all week around teaching kids all about our science and school programs.

We also ran a ‘name that fish’ competition with Dr Yi-Kai Tea throughout the week! With a new species to name in a pending publication, some of the suggested names for the new species were Fishy McFishFace, Sam Kerr, Flame gradient and MyFishsaurus! Stay tuned for more news on the upcoming paper.

Record-breaking Community Day

With 26 activities across the AM in addition to the Expo, it is no wonder the Museum was abuzz with so many visitors! AMRI staff were on the Citizen Science stall and the AMRI stall, teaching everyone about FrogID, arachnology and zooarchaeology. Our pop-up Collection Care and Conservation stall was busy in the morning and we had two talks on the day from Dr Elena Kupriyanova (Under the Sea Discoveries) and Dr Helen Smith (The Secret Life of Spiders).

AMRI features online

AMRI took part in the Sydney Science Online Trail, which provided everyone with the opportunity to explore science videos and podcasts, and learn through an online quiz. From AMRI, we included the following (which can also be found on our website):

  • What was Eric's last supper? Discover what 'Eric' the opalised plesiosaur fossil ate!
  • My Museum with Ross Pogson. Meet Ross Pogson, the Australian Museum’s minerals and rocks expert who has been the caretaker of the Mineralogy Collection since 1979.
  • FrogID. Learn how to identify frogs by their unique calls with FrogID!
  • What is Ichthyology? The fascinating field of marine and freshwater fish study revealed.

A huge thank you to Alison Mellor and the Public Programs team, who brought this great Science Week celebration to life, and everyone who took part in SST, from staff to volunteers, who made this such an amazing event.

We’d like to express gratitude to our partners the Australian Government for funding support as part of National Science Week, and the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and the University of New England (UNE) for their support in promoting science to our community. Their presence and insights were highly valued across Sydney Science Trail. A thank you also to our collaborators and staff who dedicated their time, energy and passion to these programs – you made this a wonderful week of science! Save the date for next year’s Sydney Science Trail, which will be held from 10 – 18 August 2024 .

Meagan Warwick, AMRI & External Partnerships Coordinator, Australian Museum.

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