|Why Undertake Such
Inspired by environment
Hyams Beach is visually delightful. When coming from Sydney, the bush along the way is pleasant as are the cultivated areas. But on crossing the heath and glimpsing the Bay and Point Perpendicular, the beauty of Hyams Beach is piercing. The larger view is first seen. Then we take in the smaller views on the walks; startlingly beautiful flowers always lead to surprises and delight
A workbook for similar studies
When we began the study, there were no known models that we could draw on.
There were a number of excellent references but nothing on how to conduct
a layperson’s study of an environment. Over 1999, the format for the web took shape with contributions from publications reviewed
and considered. These ranged from the excellent Cho, Georges and
Stoutiesdijk’s (1995) book, Jervis Bay: A place of cultural, scientific
and educational value to the immensely detailed National Parks
Association’s (1998) Community Biodiversity Survey Manual.
instructor led learning can fast track knowledge and skill development but
too often, the structure and delivery is compromised to suit the
‘group’ needs. Often, self-learning can seem to be nothing more than a
form of hedonism; the learning follows the student’s fancies rather than
a disciplined structure.
This is a fallacy, provided that the student can back out of the ‘dead end’, review their needs and proceed along another path of learning. There will always be the dead-ends which promised much in the beginning but the usefulness faded as we proceeded. Learning to question the time used and the ensuing results, and then recognising that it will not yield the desired results and looking for new sources is accumulating knowledge.
‘Geography’ is, “The study of the earth’s surface,…” (Whittow, 1984: 217) Geographers must be polymaths, inquisitive and obsessed with finding the answer. They pry into every aspect that interests them and their view is the world. It can be rocks, people, plants, transport, farming, fruit and vegetable processing; if it has a spatial and earthy foundation, any study can be classified as geography.
also ‘bower birds’. Any appropriate information or idea will be
borrowed and reshaped to fit their current theory. In the 1930s,
environmental determinism became the raging controversy. Everything,
including the shape of an Eskimo’s nose, could be explained by the
It was quantitative
geography in the 1960s as numeracy and statistics were discovered. Every
aspect of life was factor analysed and all of life’s variables could be
explained in eigenvalues. Then Marx’s ghost strode into the discipline
and everything wrong with the world could be blamed on capitalism. This
was virtually the end of geography as it splintered off into a myriad of
presented the most perplexing problem. The botany of the study area is
complex. We began using Dr Kevin Mills’s classification in Cho et al
(1965). We then found a more specific classification by Mills in work
commissioned by the Hyams Beach Villagers’ Association in 1989 (Mills,
1989). This is very detailed and very specific and an excellent example of
information being available for following researchers.
Much self-learning about vegetation has occurred but we have only just scratched the surface and much of Hyams Beach is about its vegetation.
The initial issues
regarding ‘presentation’ were dealt with in Photography. We collected
a large number of images and an increasing amount of information and the
first approach in presenting this was to build a web site.
Organizing the presentation followed the ‘Walks’ theme with additional information easily accessed through the ‘Contents’ page. Vegetation again caused difficulties. The current solution is to have examples in the respective walks and build a taxonomy under the family name. This has led to problems in finding specific examples of plants. For example ‘Flannel flower’ is stored under Apiaceae but we need to remember what walk we have seen Flannel Flowers on and then track back through the web information until we get to the examples.