Geography teacher Mark Dolbel explores NZ

Oct 3, 2019 | Community News

Each year Gippsland Grammar awards the J.A.T. Beard Travel Scholarship to a member of staff to undertake travel which allows them to further their education in a way that will be beneficial to both the staff member and the School. This year the scholarship was awarded to Geography teacher Mark Dolbel, who travelled to New Zealand in June and July in a quest to expand his geographic knowledge of the country, which he has since applied to his teachings in his Geography classes at our Garnsey campus.

Mark shares his thoughts on the experience:

“Geography is a subject which is brought to life through evidence from places and events and during my trip I was able to actively collect evidence from a range of locations across both islands of New Zealand. Highlights included gaining a deeper understanding of the rain-shadow effect created by the enormous Southern Alps, which I can use to help Year 7 to understand ‘Water in the World’; exploring various sites of tectonic activity such as Whakaari, which I can use to help Year 8 with ‘Landforms and Landscapes’; and learning about Maori customs and traditions, which will help with inter-cultural understanding.

The heart of the trip was to further my knowledge and gather evidence for teaching VCE Hazards and Disasters and Tourism. I used Instagram to document much of the details and establish a virtual fieldtrip for my students. I visited several locations impacted by earthquakes and gathered first-hand (primary) data on the impacts on people and the environment. I will be able to use this data to help students compare locations such as Kaikoura and Christchurch to evaluate the significance of the respective disasters. I also built an appreciation of New Zealand’s tourism characteristics to share with students in-line with the use of categories provided by the VCE study design and gathered data on how tourism is impacting people and the environment as well. I also built relationships to draw on experts I met, which I’ll use skype to facilitate. I look forward to sharing my learning as the curriculum unfolds.”

– Follow Mark’s geography adventures at

Mark enjoys the view of Queenstown from the Skyline Gondola.

Mark hiking through a formation of Franz Joseph Glacier.

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