2023 Sydney Science Trail

More than 10,000 NSW school students, families and visitors will take part in over 80 science activities when two of the nation’s leading science institutions, the Australian Museum (AM) and Botanic Gardens of Sydney (Botanic Gardens) partner for the Sydney Science Trail from 14 – 20 August 2023.

Part of National Science Week 2023, the Sydney Science Trail (SST) is one of the largest science festivals in the country with over 80 activities across three locations showcasing the latest innovations in science and technology,

At Sydney Science Trail, both primary and secondary school students can engage directly with leading researchers and experts on their subject matter during interactive STEM workshops and panel discussions, and a Science Expo of 26 stalls with hands-on demonstrations. There is also a free online component where students and families can explore science videos and podcasts, and learn through an online quiz, with content from top scientists at the AM, Botanic Gardens and university partners, University of Technology, Sydney, and University of New England.

As part of Sydney Science Trail, the AM and Botanic Gardens are throwing open their doors on Saturday 19 August and Sunday 20 August for free community fun days. Among the many activities on offer, visitors can participate in creative science demonstrations, find out via live insects why bugs and insects are vitally important to humans, watch a T.rex go under the knife, learn about the amazing inventions of our First Nations peoples, get crafty with ghost net weaving workshops, and ask Dr Karl their burning scientific questions.

NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer, Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte, said the Sydney Science Trail is a chance to celebrate the achievements of scientific leaders, industry innovators, teachers and students from NSW and across the country.

“The Sydney Science Trail has evolved through its innovative design of programs and activities to offer students, young engineers, budding researchers, and entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to engage with scientists and experience STEM disciplines in real-world applications. Raising awareness of science through both formal and informal education activities like SST, will help generate critical long-term benefits for our communities and our country,” Professor Durrant-Whyte said.

Australian Museum Director and CEO, Kim McKay AO, said that through the month of August, the AM shines a spotlight on the many contributions science makes to society, and provides curious students with an opportunity to solve curly scientific conundrums by asking, ‘why?’

“Sydney Science Trail is a key part of our mission to inspire curiosity, creativity and interest in STEM subjects. By providing great resources, showcasing the innovation and achievements of our leading researchers, industry peers and science institutions, we hope to broaden the knowledge of young scientists about their career options,” McKay said.

“Our month of science celebrations commence with SST and culminates in the AM’s Eureka Prize Awards – the ‘Oscars of Science’ – where many of our winners were once the eager students we see at the Sydney Science Trail.”

Sydney Science Trail at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan on Sunday 20 August will include over 20 science stalls, behind-the-scenes tours of world-class botanical science and horticultural facilities, and hands-on activities such as creating seed pods for AirSeed’s pilot program to try regenerate flood-affected land in NSW via drone planting.

Botanic Gardens of Sydney Chief Executive, Denise Ora, said SST at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan aims to engage people of all ages with the power of plants and inspire a career in botanical science.

“The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan is Australia’s biggest botanic garden and is the ideal location to engage the community with science and nature as its home to over 4000 native plant species as well as world-class science facilities, programs and researchers,” Ms Ora said.

“Our free community day provides an activity for every curious mind – from extracting DNA from plants with botanists, learning about First Nations knowledge on a bush food walk, to viewing incredible botanical science illustrations part of the 2023 international Margaret Flockton Award,” Ms Ora said.

Botanic Gardens of Sydney Chief Scientist, Professor Brett Summerell, said Sydney Science Trail at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan will give visitors an opportunity to meet botanical scientists who are helping solve some of the most critical challenges facing all life on Earth.

“Scientists at Botanic Gardens of Sydney are at the forefront of discovering, preserving, and restoring plants and ecosystems. Through hands-on demonstrations with botanical experts, people of all ages can learn about our fascinating flora and the remarkable research that goes into saving them,” Professor Summerell said.

Australian Museum Research Institute Chief Scientist and Director, Professor Kris Helgen, said students and teachers will enjoy five days of dynamic science programs at Sydney Science Trail and its Science Expo at the Australian Museum showcasing the very latest in scientific innovation.

“Sydney Science Trail gives primary and high school students the chance to meet scientists at the forefront of research and development. Knowledge transfer is an important driver of innovation and through Sydney Science Trail, students can learn how scientific mysteries are investigated, such as how forensic scientists solve crimes, or how laboratories undertake DNA analysis,” Professor Helgen said.

The 20th century was a time of explosive discovery in physics and biology, and the 21st is a time of extraordinary scientific challenge and opportunity—an age of molecular genomics, artificial intelligence, space exploration, and accelerating climate change. Our collective futures depend on events like Sydney Science Trail, which show students the science that is happening all around them, and how remarkable and rewarding a career in science can be.”

Sydney Science Trail is a partnership of the Australian Museum and Botanic Gardens of Sydney.