What'll happen to the wattle?

Nagle's Year 8 Enhanced Science students who will be taking part in the 'What'll happen to the wattle???!' program.

Year 8 Enhanced Science students at Nagle College in Bairnsdale have been selected to take part in the ‘What’ll happen with the wattle??!’ program, supported by the Australian Space Agency. Nagle was one of 150 schools, scout groups and Australian Air Force Cadets across Australia to be selected for this program.

One Giant Leap Australia Foundation is sending native golden wattle seeds to the International Space Station in early December, 2020. In collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the seeds will live in space for six months, returning to Australia in time for Science Week 2021.

“We are thrilled to be taking part in this unique and exciting program. It's an incredible opportunity for our students to take part in a national science project of this scale. We look forward to growing our space seeds!” said Ms Jacinta Prestion, Year 8 Enhanced Science teacher.

A community panel judged the applications that included 200 words and a short video, explaining what the schools would do with the wattle once it had grown.

“We have spent five days watching videos. Entries were received from across Australia; from a single teacher in a face mask in a school in Victoria to a small school in remote Northern Territory. It has been an amazing opportunity to laugh and cry our way through them,” said one panel member.

The selected schools will receive wattle seeds that have been flown to space and seeds that have not – both from the same seed lot. Students are asked to germinate and grow their seeds, and record data about the germination and seed growth. Data will then be uploaded to the ‘What’ll happen to the wattle??!’ app.

The 1-2 year project will result in the creation of a nationwide map identifying the location of Australia‘s 'space wattle’ trees.