Listening to Nature

How can listening open and enrich a child's connection to nature? What species can we recognise? How do animal vocalisations relate to their biology? Can we hear whether our natural environment is healthy? Can we discern acoustic changes in nature, perhaps related to the seasons or longer term climate change?

Listening offers us a wonderful way of tuning in to nature, but its a skill that requires learning.

In his multimedia presentation, Andrew will share four levels of nature listening that can unlock the secrets of nature to curious minds. He takes an enthusiastic, personal and interactive approach, featuring spectacular recordings of birds and animals from locally and around the world, enhanced by visual analysis from spectrograms.

This presentation may also be complimented with an outdoor session, where students make their own recordings, listen in live to their acoustic environment on headphones, and then analyse what they've heard. Workshops and presentations are adaptable to students of any age.


Andrew will engage students in developing applied listening skills, and becoming more aware of their acoustic environment.

He will present students with a way of understanding biological and environmental principles from a fresh perspective. They will learn that listening is a way of identifying creatures, recognising their behaviours, measuring the health of habitats, and understanding the processes of natural systems.

Andrew will demonstrate how sound recordings can be gathered as scientific data, and then analysed. Using commonly available technology, he will show students how to make their own sound recordings, to document, monitor, build databases, and develop experiments to better understand their local natural environment.

This workshop will help realise the 'Science as Human Endeavour' outcomes of the Australian Science Curriculum, as it will show students how science can be used in everyday life and problem solving.

About your facilitator

Andrew is a professional naturalist, educator and sound recordist, who has travelled for 25 years to research and document the world's natural soundscapes. He has published hundreds of hours of recordings, freely available to listen to online. His educational activities have taken him from schools to university lecture rooms, to the TedX stage in Canberra, and numerous appearances on ABC radio, including the program 'Big Ideas'.

"There is something magical about listening. Sound brings things together; we can hear relationships between creatures and their environment. We can sense an animal's aliveness, interpret its biology and life story. In listening, we find a sense of belonging with our surroundings."