A Flinders University classroom at Oaklands Wetland has been recognised at a national awards ceremony for its STEM outreach activities engaging high school and university students with hands-on experience in stormwater monitoring and enabling research projects.
The Oaklands Education Centre, a joint research program between Flinders University and the City of Marion, is the first university- led laboratory in South Australia available for schools, government agencies and environmental researchers to conduct water experiments.
Launched in 2019, the centre has been recognised with a national prize in the ‘Excellence in Research and Innovation’ category at the National Stormwater Australia Awards for Excellence this week.
The centre is also testing methods developed to monitor the quality of stormwater being fed to the nearby Tonsley Innovation District to irrigate plants, run air conditioning, and flush toilets.
Flinders University water expert Professor Howard Fallowfield, an aquatic microbial ecologist who lectures in environmental health at the College of Science and Engineering, discussed the opportunities for schools, community groups and researchers to get a better understanding of how wetlands can reduce water pollution and offer benefits for nearby communities when it was launched in 2019.
The centre contains a classroom for up to 25 students, a field station with direct access to the wetland supporting teaching, honours, masters, and PhD research projects related to the wetlands and managed aquifer recharge (MAR) and stormwater management to primary and secondary schools.
The Oaklands Education Centre, is located at 237-265 Oaklands Road at Oaklands Park, next to the Warradale Army Barracks.