Experiencing Flooding and Science

“Get up Stephanie!  The flood waters are at the back stairs!”

Projected my mother at volume.  As always, I returned from the Science Experience exhausted.   After only a day back at home to catch up on sleep, the unexpected smacks me in the face.  With a raincoat.  I’ll get back to my flood experience soon: “The Science Experience” is an 8 day Science Camp I attend annually in Brisbane.  Myself and roughly about 80 others staff the camp for years 10 and 11 students across many Brisbane University Campuses.  I was going to have a busy time at camp, and when I got home there would be no rest for the wicked.

Getting involved in extracurricular activities such as “The Science Experience” is invaluable in so many ways for learning about the industry, making contacts and having a ridiculously good time all round.  For other science students who might be interested, I’ll give you a brief run-down.  The first five days of the camp is comprised of staff training, like crowd control mechanisms, first aid, CPR, dealing with unruly teens and many techniques that would be old hat to readers studying education.    There is also a heavy social emphasis in this time with activities such as ‘The Amazing Race’, the Relay Quiz, dinners out, Wet N’ Wild trip, Movie night, Ice Skating and much more.  We also bond through our close quarters sleeping on the floor at a local school hall and through constant games and shenanigans.  Things get serious in the last four days, and we split off to our separate universities.  Before the camp begins, you can elect to staff Griffith University Nathan Campus, University of Queensland or Queensland University of Technology.  This year I staffed at the hilly Griffith campus and looked after a group of about ten students.  On the final three days, these students are shuffled in between workshops, lectures and excursions and kept entertained by the same games which entertained us.  It’s a great program for the staff and students, and if you are interested in staffing the camp in 2014, feel free to hit me up with any questions you many have.  Keep in mind that the camp is not just for people who study science.  There are many others from all walks of life who join in the fun, e.g. Arts and Law studies.  The only prerequisite is being younger than 26.  More importantly, however, if you know any years 9 or 10 students in the local Toowoomba area who are nurturing a passion for science, they can attend the USQ Science Experience on the 25-27th of September.  It is an engaging program with a wide variety of hands on Science activities and is great for answering any questions they may have about tertiary study in the sciences.   If you have questions about the program or would like to put forward any names, the lovely Debbie and Erin White are the ladies you need to speak to.   They are contactable at sciences.engage@usq.edu.au.

The rain begins on my way back from camp, and the day after I get home, before I know it, the floods have arrived.

“Get up Stephanie!  The flood waters are at the back stairs!”

Projected my mother at volume.  I open my eyes to see her dripping wet, sporting a raincoat that could probably be used as a tent.  It was 5am, and mum only uses my full name in situations where extreme emphasis was necessary.  My sleepy brain interpreted the rest of the shout, in haste, as something like

“The flood waters have the drop bears!” 

So I got out of bed awaiting the promise of something awesome to justify the early hour.  What I found, however, was the back veranda with a view of a sea of water stretching away into the horizon.  It was like waterfront living, except compulsory.  To get an idea of the magnitude of the flooding, the water had to cross 300-400 acres of grazing land at a depth of 15 metres overnight to land at our back fence.  And the water was still rising.


With us cut off from the rest of the town and no power, phone service or internet, the water ended up rising about half a metre underneath the house and thirty centimetres into the shed.

Car Island

Lucky for us, no water came into the house so we fared quite well compared to many others across the state.  However, the neighbour’s German Shepard ran into a bit of trouble.  He was stuck in deep water past our back fence, entangled in a network of vines.  Mother and I went into Wildlife Warrior mode and managed to safely extract the animal without incident.

cut offCars on Ramps

When I finally regained internet access, I found out that USQ offers a fantastic range of flood and bushfire support.  Semester three exams can be deferred for those cut off by flood waters.  Those who are yet to accept University offers can rest assured that allowances can be made for those finding it difficult to submit their application due to the weather.  As always, the university offers free counselling services and study support if you need it.  Take advantage of these services if you need them, and I’ll leave you with a quote from our prime minister when speaking about the floods.  It’s optional to read this in a voice obscured by a scuba diving mask. 

“There are still more dark days ahead … but the spirit of Queensland is to face these circumstances with courage and determination.” – Prime Minister Julia Gillard

6 thoughts on “Experiencing Flooding and Science

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