International Student Trips Powered By Discovery Education
Australia Adventure

The Autopsy

Friday, May 29, 2009

OK, First, how gross that I'm even writing about an autopsy!  But the kids loved it!  
Today, we visited Healesville Sanctuary.  Part of the sanctuary is dedicated to the protection and healing of injured animals.  Many animals are shot and killed by farmers that are trying to keep them off of their crops.  And many are hit by traffic and other accidental causes.  

This day, the vet had a kangaroo that was killed several days ago.  The autopsy room has one glass wall so you can watch what is going on.  The kids were invited to either stand behind the glass, or actually join the vet IN the room!  Many kids started off in the room, but only 4 remained in the end.  Duggan was one of them!  (I would have never guessed that he would have stayed till the end!)  

I stayed on the outside... then migrated to the hallway as things progressed.  Autopsies are not my thing!  I already lost my cookies once during this trip and
 I was not about to go for round 2!  
When the vet pulled the kangaroo out of the bag, the kids in the room immediately covered their noses with their hands, shirts, (anything they could grab quickly)... we could almost smell it just by watching their reactions!  The ladies from the sanctuary were standing out in the hall trying to convince me that I would love to watch... ha!  That's funny!  The "cutting" part of the kangaroo was facing away from me... that was a good thing!  So, from my perspective I got a great shot of the kids expressions!  That was enough for me!  

At one point, we heard Duggan and Anson talking about Thanksgiving dinner in the room!  Thanksgiving?!!!  Were they crazy?!  

We also watched a great Birds of Prey show!  (Thank God there were no more post-mortem shows to watch!)

After the sanctuary, we all got back in the bus to catch the last hour of the Queen Victoria Marketplace!  It is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere!  Shopping!  NOW we're talking!  We shopped our little hearts out in an hour!  Mostly, we were looking for warm clothing!  We didn't plan very well on how cold, and wet, it was in Australia.  Between the kids in our group, we shopped at speeds of up to $40 an hour, with gusts up to $75!  We all got Australia jackets to match!  We'll be wearing them on our next outing!  

It's about time I catch up on some sleep.  We have an early morning tomorrow... breakfast at 5:30 AM.  It's then off to the airport for an early flight to Alice Springs!  We are all looking forward to Ayers Rock, a walk-about and our camel ride!  

Mrs. McGuire


Driving in Australia

G'Day Mates!

This sign is posted everywhere! I suppose it's to remind visitors (like us) to drive on the correct side of the road! I do have to say, it was a little strange to drive on the left, but you get used to it. The only time it's really crazy is when you make a turn! It catches us every time! We've stopped making audible gasps, but it's still pretty funny!

One of the signs that cracks us up is the sign of Kangaroo Crossing... underneath the sign it has a number to call for injured animals. The kids wanted to know if the kangaroos knew how to use phones! Ha!

Keep writing in our blogs! Every morning, when we get on the bus, I read all of your posts to the kids! They always get really excited when they hear from home! But it's especially exciting to hear from those of you that they don't know! Keep it up! We LOVE hearing from you!

Mrs. McGuire

In the Trees

Thursday, May 28, 2009

(This blog post was a group effort. All the Colorado students collaborated to create the post.)

There was a spiral road that never seemed to end. After three hours on the bus, one of our teachers even got sick. (And no – it was not Mrs. Jensen.) On the way to the rainforest we got to see our first wild koalas in the trees along side the road.

After arriving at Otway Fly, it was fun getting our hands dirty as we each planted two trees, one Myrtle Beech and one Mountain Ash.

The Mountain Ash tree is the second largest tree in the world. It can grow up to 150 meters in height. You can tell how old a Mountain Ash tree is by measuring its diameter at about chest high. For every centimeter it is one year old.

The moss grows on the south side of the trees because it avoids the sunlight. This was surprising to us because back home it grows on the north side of trees.

Some of the trees in the rainforest are shaped like a boomerang because another tree has blocked its sunlight. It curves to find the sunlight. This movement of the tree was interesting. The aborigines would make their own tools out of trees, mollusk and kangaroo tail.

We also learned that there are lots of threats to the rainforest including people cutting trees. In just one minute about 10 regular-sized football fields of Amazon rain forest is cut down. Realizing how much forest this actually is, it seems that it could all be destroyed in a matter of years. Without our rainforest, we would have less oxygen and water…both are necessary for life. Yesterday we learned about many endangered frogs. They are endangered because their habitat is being destroyed, due to deforestation.

We walked up the Otway Fly, which was 47 meters high. We got to see a great view of the rainforest below. The rainforest gets 2 meters of rainfall a year. While in the rain forest we got to drink some of the fresh creek water. We were surprised at how clean this water was.

Our second day in Australia was successful. Although it was raining most of our time in the “rainforest” we were still able to soak up some great information along with all the water.

(Mrs. Jensen has more detailed posts on her Everyday in a Photo Blog -

Melbourne and the Moonlit Animal Sanctuary

Upon our arrival to Melbourne, Australia our fully loaded itinerary jumped into high speed.  We spent a portion of our first morning here touring the great city of Melbourne.  We learned many cool things about the city.  Among the many things we learned are that there is loads of art around the city and the architecture is as wide a variety as the culture here.  One of the buildings that I found of particular interest was the Flinders Street Station.  I was able to capture a number of photos of this great building.  Below is one of the photos I was able to get

After our seemingly brief tour of the city (I would like to return at some point) we headed out to the Moonlit Animal Sanctuary.  There the students learned many things about the animals in Australia, their habitats, their behavioral characteristics, and the effects of environmental change on them.  We learned many interesting things about the animals in Australia.  One student, Lulu, had the opportunity to interview one of the animal managers at Moonlit.  The interview is below. 

So I will close this posting with the following questions for the readers:

What percentage of animals in Australia are mammal?

Of this percentage what is the percent of mammals that are also marsupial?

And finally what percentage of the animals are nocturnal?

Feel free to post your reply in the comments section or even better see if you can get one or more of your students to research the answers to these questions.

Note: We learned the answers to these questions during our time at the animal sanctuary

The Rainy Rainforest

I'm here with my four students and we are going to share with you all about our wonderful day in the rainy- rainforest!

Duggan- The Aboriginals used to make axes and shields out of blackwood. I thought it was cool how they would put it in a fork of a tree branch and would wrap it with use thin tree bark as string to tie it up. They did this so the ax would be secured to the handle. They also made plaster out of shells and tree sap to secure the handle in place. I learned that you can drink the rain water and water from the creek. We got to taste it, and it was way better than our water in California. When we got to the rainforest, we planted two trees: Mertle Beach and Mountain Ash. The Mertle Beach was around when the dinosaurs were here! The Mountain Ash will be the world's tallest tree.

Alec- Peter, our guide, told us that the Mountain Ash will be the tallest tree in the world. (Right now, the California Sequoia is the tallest!) The Otway Fly is 47 meters tall and when they built it they had to remove all the small plants on the forest floor. This was 5 years ago, and now- you can't even tell that the plants are fairly new. We planted Mountain Ash and Mertle Beach trees. We saw a lot of rainbows today. The Ocean Road was a great view to the ocean. Australia was discovered in the 1840's and today, you can STILL find Aboriginal tools laying in the forest! The air in the forest was very fresh, clean and new!

Kennedy- Today was a beautiful day. We planted two trees today: The Mertle Beach and The Mountain Ash. We got our hands dirty!!! After we planted our trees we took a very long walk into the rainforest. We learned about all different types of trees and how they grow and form. When we got deeper into the forest we went up the Otway Fly about 47 meters above forest level. (That's about 155 feet.) That was a scary part for me because the kids were shaking the bridge and I almost cried ... many times! The hike was long, but it was nice. It was very soothing and relaxing. I learned that moss only grows on the south side of the tree because it doesn't like direct sun light. The Mountain Ash will soon be the tallest tree in the world.

Tyanna- I was in the Otway Rainforest and it was the first rainforest I've ever been in. We went on a high bridge (almost 155 feet tall) and we saw the second tallest tree in the world. We learned that the Aboriginals used the rainforst for their medicine, protection, and food. They have trees in the rainforest that curved like boomerangs because of the conflict between trees trying to find the sun light. We planted two trees: Mertle Beach and Mountain Ash. They said that when we are 99 years old and come back to Australia we would have a really tall tree! I really liked the moss on the trees. It grows on the south side of the tree because it doesn't like direct sun light. The conflict between endangered frogs and humans is that humans are destroying the environment from climate change. The frogs are dying because of climate change and their natrual habitats being taken away. We drank from a river. It was so clean and fresh! It was WAY better than the water we get from the grocery store! It was kind of sweet!

Mrs. McGuire- The day started with a very long drive up Ocean Road. It probably would not have been quite so long a drive, but before we hit the ocean, we hit the candy store. Now, I haven't had candy is a while... and (yes, I admit) I ate more candy than I should have. And when we hit the windy road... I lost it all! The Aussies said that I had a "liquid laugh"... all right... but it WASN'T funny at all! We actually saw Koalas in the trees along the ocean! What a view! Ocean Road is one of the 10 most beautiful drives in the world!
The Rainforest was amazing! First, it RAINED! Imagine that! This time, we were prepared with rain jackets! We saw so many rainbows in the past few days!
The kids all planted trees and we took a VERY cool hike on the Otway Fly! Holy Smokes! It was so high! And when we got to the end, the kids had fun shaking the bridge! It freaked out some of the girls, but we all survived!
I'm waiting for my Blackberry to be fixed. Until then, I have limited access to you all! I can't wait to get my phone fixed so we can keep in touch!
Tonight we had dinner at Observation Deck in Melbourne! I took some really cool photos of the city! We lucked out and got a very clear night, despite the heavy rain today!
We'll write again tomorrow! For now, we're all exhausted, but will sleep with smiles on our faces remembering a very exciting day!

Mrs. McGuire

Airport Olympics

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

When we were training our travel leaders to prepare them for their trip to Australia, we had a section of the training called "Airport Olympics". I would like to say that I give our students and teachers a perfect 10! All the students and teachers are safe in Melbourne, and they all survived the longest plane ride of their lives.

I was lucky enough to meet Travel Leader Jennifer Jensen, her students and their families at the Denver airport. The parents all looked so proud of their children and just as excited as well. (You can view pictures in the photo library.)

The students I met are just perfect for Discovery Student Adventures. They all are outgoing, friendly are definitely ready for new expereinces.

From left to right in this picture: Sarah, Shea, Ashlee, Mrs. Jensen and Tyler.

The flight from Denver for these 5, was an hour delayed. The plane landed at LAX a little under an hour before the flight to Melbourne. The students and Mrs. Jensen ran all the way to the check in counter, were rushed to the front of security and made the flight with only minutes to spare. The rest of the students that were on the flight had been told that the Denver group wasn't going to make it - so I am sure they were in for a surprise to see them!


On Our Way!

Monday, May 25, 2009

We just had a homemade spaghetti dinner at my parent's house! Mmmmm... Mom makes the best pasta EVER!

We had last minute checks and were wondering if we will need heavier coats. From my iPhone, it looks like the temperature in Melbourne is 54 F. at the high.

Bobby is loading up my iPod with movies and music. I'm wondering how we will all do on a 17 hour flight! I just hope we all get some sleep!

Here we come!
Carol Anne

An Early Welcome From Melbourne!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hello Fellow DSA Adventurers!

I have arrived in Melbourne and am anxiously awaiting your arrival! Final preparations have been made, everyone is excited and waiting for your flight to land!

This is where you will find your welcome crew on Wednesday!

Also, let me introduce a key person to our upcoming adventure, our Travel Manager Amanda! Amanda has traveled the world over (I believe her country count is now over 40) but is originally from the Melbourne area and currently living here, enjoying this wonderful area and loving being near her family again. Amanda truly has a "Discovery" spirit, believing that often, the experience is the best reward for doing anything. She will keep us organized, on track, up to date and just be a great deal of fun along the way. She can't wait to meet you all and can't wait to show you Australia, her country, a country that all her travel has made her love even more. She truly loves introducing people to this amazing place, and just can't wait to begin showing it to you! Hi Amanda!

This is how you will see her most of the time during our trip - lanyard on, cell phone in hand to call all our contacts and keep the mechanics of the trip going smooth, and a big welcoming smile!!

Met someone else today who can't wait until you arrive - Rita, a very rambunctious wombat who has been very naughty and thoroughly ruined her enclosure. She can't wait for some helping hands to get it all ready to go again, with some definite improvements in the landscaping! I would post a picture, but all it would be is some grumbling snores coming from her hollow log - I caught her when she was too tuckered from her attempts at being a bulldozer to be bothered with posing for blogs....

Can't wait until you get here!!! Hurry up, don't you know it's already Monday in Australia and you are supposed to be departing?! :)

Catherine, Amanda and Rowdy Rita

An Aussie Adventure

Well, the official countdown is less than 24 hours least until we begin our journey from DIA.  Today I was finishing up the conversion of DEstreaming videos, doing laundry, and purchasing a few last-minute items.    (I've left the house cleaning until tomorrow.)

Over the course of the last week, people kept asking me if I was excited and ready for the trip.  I would always say excited...just not ready.  I had so many other things to do that I sometimes didn't even realize that I was actually going on this incredible trip.  As I blog tonight and begin putting items in my suitcase, it's finally hit me...I'M GOING TO AUSTRALIA!!!

When I had my students set up their blog, I asked them to create their first post.  I enjoyed reading their thoughts and feelings prior to us leaving.  Reading what they had to say raised my excitement level.

I look at this trip as a chance for me to "Pay it Forward," just a couple of decades after the fact.  Growing up I was activlty involved in 4-H Wildlife.  With the help and support of my parents, I did some amazing projects.  These projects helped me earn several amazing trips:  backpacking in the CO Rockies with the National Wildlife Federation, horse-packing through the lambing grounds of bighorn sheep, and helping scientist trap and band geese in Canada with Ducks Unlimited.  The memories of all these trips remain with me today.  I am truly excited that I have been given the opportunity to provide four students with the chance to create the same type of memories.

I want to thank Discovery Education and Discovery Student Adventures for this amazing share a new culture, country and continent with my students.


High Alert?!

Melbourne is on high alert for travelers coming from the States. They have set up thermo screens to see if anyone is running a temperature... bringing in the flu to Australia!

This should be interesting!

On a side note, I was told that we need to try bush tomato chutney and banana jam! Sounds yummy! I was also told that Kangaroo meat is good... hmmm... we'll see about that!

Less that 24 hours from now we will be on our way to the airport! I'm going to spend a quiet night with my family!

See you down under!
Carol Anne

Packing Up!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Well, I got a new rolling duffle bag today for the trip... after taking back two of them!  I opted for one with lots of pockets and sturdy wheels.  We are limited to 35 pounds.  Yikes!  I think I have 35 pounds of camera equipment!  (Just kidding!)  

Now we're just making sure that all the kids have their blogs up and going, and are all following each other on Twitter!  They're having a blast with Twitter!  :)  

Tomorrow, after church, I'm going to get a pedicure with my two girls and my Mom.  (You gotta have cute toes!)  Hmmm... what color should I get this time?!

I think I've read every book I can get my hands on about Australia.  I've called every friend I have in the country to see what we need to bring.  But because we'll be in so many different climates we're packing a little bit of everything!  

I still can't believe this is really happening.  I already miss my family!  

We're all looking forward to hearing from you all on the trip, so don't forget to write!  

Carol Anne

The Land uʍop ɹǝpun

Friday, May 22, 2009

As I write this posting I am beginning to sense the excitement and anticipation of my students going on this awesome trip with me.  This is the first time I have ever traveled with students and while I have had a desire to travel with students before now, this is the perfect scenario.  We are heading to the land down under, also known as Australia.  I am very much looking forward to all the wonderful things we will learn and experience.  Our itinerary is quite extensive and how we will manage all that fun will be the most challenging and welcoming part.  In fact our itinerary can be found here.

I have had the fortunate opportunity to travel to many countries and this will be my first trip to Australia.  One of the things I look forward to doing is capturing and sharing our experiences with lots of photos, more blog postings, videos, and podcasts.  Most of our content will be published or linked on this blog.  We also have twitter accounts set up so I will be posting to twitter here.

As the trip fast approaches I am hopeful that many of my friends and fellow educators around the world will encourage their students to follow along virtually with our journey and participate in our learning by adding comments to our blog postings, adding questions about things we are learning, postings comments on our twitter feeds, and perhaps creating digital stories with the photos we publish.  If you have a specific request for content, by all means let us know.  Also if you are an educator reading this and you are not part of the Discovery Educator Network now is your chance to take that next step in growing as a professional.  The link to the DEN can be found here.  Also if you have an interest in perhaps taking an adventure trip with a lucky group of students there is no better group to work with than the Discovery Student Adventures.  They can be found here.

And so with that I leave this posting with a few Australian phrases that I will be sure to use while I am there.

Away with the pixies  = Daydreaming

Bush = Land outside of the city

Good on ya = Good for you

Who can tell me what "Didgeridoo" means and post a little history about it?

Welcome to the Blog

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Welcome the the Discovery Student Adventure's Australia Trip Blog. Check back for frequent updates from the teachers and students traveling on this pilot program.