The Forest Environment (Enviro Science Unit 1)

Program Overview

Discover the forest environment, it’s structure, functions and natural processes.


  • Changes occurring in the forest, including human-induced changes
  • How forests are managed and conserved
  • A clear felled logging coupe
  • Protected Cool Temperate Rainforest
  • Mountain Ash forest that has regenerated from the 1939 Black Friday bushfires

Workbooks will be provided so you can make a copy for each student to use on the day to guide their forest investigation.

Inclusions and Notes

Equipment supplied by Gould League: Safety helmets worn by all participants; workbook and all tools required for fieldwork data collection.

Equipment needed: A chartered bus (which is required to remain with the group at all times) and first aid kit and PPE including hand sanitiser to ensure a Covid safe excursion.

Student needs to bring:  Their own water and lunch, sunscreen, a clipboard, pencil, and a copy of the Gould League workbook (usually sent 14 days prior to excursion so copies can be made for students) to guide the forest investigation; bag to take away your rubbish.

Restrictions: This Gould League program is delivered in the Toolangi State Forest, in the North Central Fire District and does not operate on days with a Fire danger rating of Severe, Extreme and Code Red. On rare occasions, programs may be postponed due to extreme weather predictions involving wind/storms. In both cases, these programs will be rescheduled at the earliest convenience of both parties.

Programs DO however operate during wet/snowy weather. Plan for wet weather from April-October, and expect temperatures at least 5 degrees colder than suburban Melbourne.

Curriculum Links

VCE Unit 1 Environmental Science

Outcome 2 

On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe the flow of matter and energy, nutrient exchange and environmental changes in ecosystems across Earth’s four systems over different time scales. 

To achieve this outcome the student will draw on key knowledge outlined in Area of Study 2 and the related key science skills on pages 11 and 12 of the study design. 

Key knowledge Systems thinking 

  • systems thinking as a framework for exploring relationships in environmental systems by identifying inputs, outputs, components and structures that may be visible or invisible to the human eye 
    • open, semi-permeable or closed systems in terms of energy and matter 
    • the interrelatedness of systems: hierarchical interactions (sub-systems, system in focus, and supra-system) including changes in one system that affect others in the hierarchy. 

Unit 1: How are Earth’s systems connected? 

Environmental factors that affect Earth over time 

  • techniques for measuring and monitoring changes in the environment 
    • the effects of environmental changes on Earth’s systems that relate to the survival of living things, including a focus on at least one example from each of the following time scales: 

–  short term (seconds to years): daily, diurnal, nocturnal, circadian, seasonal, tidal, and El Niño-Southern 
    Oscillation events 

–  medium term (multiple years to hundreds of years): solar output cycles, glacial melting, vegetation 
    succession, land cover changes, and desertification 

–  long term (thousands to millions of years): plate tectonics, evolutionary mechanisms, Milankovitch 
    cycles, thermohaline circulation, mass extinction of species, and geomagnetic reversals 

  • the effects of unpredictable and/or abrupt environmental changes resulting in localised extinction and speciation, or ecosystem shock, with reference to at least one example from the following events: floods, droughts, fire, earthquake, volcanic activity, the emergence of new diseases and/or rapid erosion events. 

VCE Study Design extracts reproduced by permission, © VCAA. VCE is a registered trademark of the VCAA. The VCAA does not endorse or make any warranties regarding this study resource. Current VCE Study Designs, past exams and related content can be accessed directly at

Program Details

Program LocationToolangi State Forest
Max # of Groups (group max 30)3
Possible Start Times10.00am (9.45am arrival)
Grade LevelYear 11
Program Duration4 hours
Program TypeExcursion
Program ThemeForests, Human Impacts
Cost per group $540