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Teacher guide The mountain-pygmy possum: On the edge

TLF ID M025135

In this series of tasks, students identify habitats for the endangered mountain pygmy-possum, and use Geographic Information System (GIS) and geographical techniques to identify preferred survey sites and to estimate population numbers. The resource focuses on the biophysical environment of suitable alpine habitats; students interpret visual data to examine spatial and ecological issues relevant to the protection and management of ecosystems. Specifically, students use an online GIS to explore real data to identify preferred survey sites and simulate a Capture Mark Recapture (CMR) survey to discover how monitoring techniques can be used to estimate population size. Follow-up questions give students the opportunity to explore how this information can be used in conservation management.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This resource is of some value for supporting the Year 9 Geography content description about the distribution and characteristics of biomes, as students investigate the specific biophysical characteristics of an alpine biome.
  • This resource is very valuable for the Year 10 Geography content descriptions about applying geographical concepts and methods to the management of environmental change and the application of environmental economic and social criteria in evaluating management responses to the change. Students are asked to consider the role and possible responses of ski resorts in managing and sustaining pygmy possum habitats.
  • The resource is valuable for the Year 9 and 10 content descriptions in Geography about how geographical information systems (GIS) are used to analyse geographical data and make predictions as students engage in using GIS data to determine the factors that contribute to pygmy possum populations, and make predictions based on this data.
  • The resource is also of value to the senior secondary Geography curriculum. The student tasks address content descriptions in the Land cover transformations unit about interpreting data sourced from spatial technologies and fieldwork to explain the nature, extent and consequences of land cover change and the impacts of land cover change on the local environment.
  • The resource also supports the Sustainability cross-curriculum priority as it asks students to explore how the biosphere is a dynamic system providing conditions that sustain life in an alpine environment. Students also investigate how actions for a more sustainable future reflect values of care, respect and responsibility, and require us to explore and understand environments. In particular, students are asked to explore a range of ways that the alpine environment can be managed and cared for to ensure the survival of the pygmy possum.
  • The resource is also extremely valuable for supporting the New South Wales Geography Syllabus at Stage 6. It directly addresses student outcomes in the Biophysical Interactions course about describing interactions in the biophysical environment and using maps, graphs and statistics to conduct geographical inquiries.
Year level

9; 10; 11; 12

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: Office of Environment and Heritage
  • Organization: Office of Environment and Heritage
  • Address: NSW
  • URL:
  • Publisher
  • Name: Office of Environment and Heritage
  • Organization: Office of Environment and Heritage
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: NSW
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Unknown
Learning Resource Type
  • Online
  • © State of New South Wales and Office of Environment and Heritage (unless indicated otherwise). Unless indicated otherwise, this material may be used in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence Refer to