Human Impacts

About The Program

The EcoCentre provides a wide range of human impact activities within the marine environments of St Kilda Beach, St Kilda Pier and West Beach. Using Port Phillip Bay as our outdoor classroom we have a variety of hands-on activities that allow schools to tailor their excursion to match curriculum needs, inquiry topic and student projects.

• How have humans impacted Port Phillip Bay?
• How can humans help the marine ecosystems of Port Phillip Bay?


St Kilda Beach, St Kilda Pier, and West Beach, VIC

Excursion Duration:

4 hours (10am – 2pm). Shorter excursions (60min, 90min or 2 hour) can also be arranged.

Year Level:

Prep to Year 12

Maximum number of classes:

4 (Group max: 25)

Cost per class:

$500 + GST


All terms on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Most suitable in the warmer, drier months of term 1 and 4.

Program Themes:

Marine ecosystems, Port Phillip Bay, Little Penguins, molluscs, coastal erosion, Indigenous perspectives, STEAM, STEM, pier redevelopment, human impacts, Sam the seadragon, ocean litter, ocean rubbish, nurdles, shell survey, science excursion

• F-2 Living things have a variety of external features and live in different places where their basic needs, including food, water and shelter, are met (VCSSU042)
• F-2 Use informal measurements in the collection and recording of observations (VCSIS052)
• 3-4 Science knowledge helps people to understand the effects of their actions (VCSSU056)
• 5-6 Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (VCSSU074)
• 5-6 The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment (VCSSU075)
• 5-6 Influence of people, including the influence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, on the environmental characteristics of Australian places (VCGGK094)
• 5-6 Scientific understandings, discoveries and inventions are used to inform personal and community decisions and to solve problems that directly affect people’s lives (VCSSU073)
• 7-8 Critique needs or opportunities for designing and investigate, analyse and select from a range of materials, components, tools, equipment and processes to develop design ideas (VCDSCD049)
• 7-8 Ways that flows of water connect places as they move through the environment and the ways this affects places (VCGGK106)
• 7-8 Human causes of landscape degradation, the effects on landscape quality and the implications for places (VCGGK119)

There are two options for this excursion. The 3 class excursion includes three 1 hour activities listed below (selected upon booking). The 4 class excursion includes four 45min listed below (selected upon booking). Shorter excursions (60min, 90min or 2 hour) can also be arranged.
1. Human influences on Marine Ecosystems – Little Penguin Colony
Explore the complex and fascinating marine ecosystems in the Bay including Little Penguins and analyse human influence on Port Phillip Bay, especially plastic pollution, fishing, tourism and urbanisation.

2. Nurdles in our Environment (STEAM)
Discover ‘Nurdles’, how they travel in waterways and how they harm the environment and animals. Use STEAM ideas to experiment with various pieces of equipment to design ways of capturing nurdles out of the sand to find solutions to our plastics problem.

3. Shoreline Shell Survey (STEAM)
Understand the biodiversity of shells (molluscs) in the Bay and how molluscs could be affected by climate change, acids and pollution. A STEAM data collection and classification activity.

4. Indigenous Connection to Country
Walk through West Beach to explore our Indigenous plants, and understand how these are used for food and resources by the Boon Wurrung people. Gain insight to how local Aboriginal people lived in connection to the seasons and flows of nature. How did they have a different impact to today’s impacts?

5. Oceans of Rubbish (STEAM)
Explore our current major issue of marine pollution by conducting STEAM litter transects, recording data and ascertaining how litter arrives here. Discuss the myriad of effects experienced by marine animals as a result of marine pollution. Take action by completing a litter pick up.

6. Coastal Erosion (STEAM)
Through the ‘erosive nature of waves’ and ‘sandcastle weather proofing’ experiments students will learn about wind, water and weather as factors that cause erosion. The 1 hour activity includes experimenting with design features to reduce the impacts of erosion.

7. Save Sam the Seadragon
Our puppet Sam the Weedy Seadragon has an important message to share about the life in Port Phillip Bay, food chains and energy exchanges within an ecosystem. As Victoria’s marine emblem Sam was happily surviving in Port Phillip Bay until plastic started to enter the ecosystem. Through hands-on activities students will learn about why plastics are amazing but when they get out of control they cause problems for our wildlife.

Restrictions: Our group sizes are capped at 25 students and our maximum is 100 per excursion. More than 4 classes can be accommodated by special request.
We will send you instructions for transport and a day plan after you book.

"A very enjoyable afternoon. I am excited to follow up the design process with my groups and see if they can include this in the assessment task on an environmental topic they have chosen about human impacts."

- High School Science teacher

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Please note, outdoor excursions only run on Tues, Wed, Thursdays.

School Information

Organising Teacher Details

The EcoCentre acknowledges the Kulin Nations, including the Yalukut Weelam clan of the Boon Wurrung language group, traditional owners of the land on which we are located.

We pay respects to their Elders past and present, and extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Elder members of our multicultural community.