Into the wild

The Year 10 SAGE Tasmania: Writing the Island program gave students an array of project-based learning activities in historical, political and untamed environments.

With a theoretical focus on ecocriticism this year, students examined with fresh eyes the environment and how humans relate to it.


“We wanted to build on the environmental focus this year, and enrich the students’ cultural, historical and political mindsets,” said IGS Head of Literary Projects Derek Patulny.

“Ecocriticism is a well-developed academic discipline, which we are finding very relevant and applicable to circumstances in Tasmania.

“In 2018, we have much more specialised groups, producing more clearly defined products. Students are more diversely spread across the island.”

Students hiked, wrote, made films, created photography and art, and explored the picturesque and raw environments of the land.

The art group spent the first part of the week discovering Bruny Island, creating works using only materials from the natural environment and reconsidering waste.

Using Andy Goldsworthy as their muse, and making patterns and art through the materials they found, students developed a greater appreciation and respect for the environment.

“Being immersed in this natural world, I’ve definitely become more conscious of my approach to the environment,” said Bianca Kotoulas.

“Seeing a drink bottle left along the pristine coastline here, you really notice it, and it just looks so wrong.”

From those exploring the east coast of Tasmania to those trekking through the relatively untouched terrain of Freycinet National Park, students had their eyes and ears opened to everything around them.

“I chose to take part in this group, because I really wanted to get out and into the natural landscape that Tasmania has to offer,” said Oscar Killick-Dodd.

“Hiking through this part of the world is something else. It’s really opened my eyes to resources, and how pristine and beautiful the land is.

“It doesn’t need to be made into anything else, or transformed. It needs to be preserved as it is, so these thoughts are definitely something I’ll be taking home with me and be more conscious of in our own area.”

Students have come across much wildlife in their Tasmania travels, as well as sun, rain and wind, gaining a comprehensive picture of the environment at all hours of the day and night.  

Through cross-curricular learning activities they have challenged themselves physically and mentally, and have forged and expanded their friendships.

The SAGE program was originated and designed by Principal Shauna Colnan in 2015, “to build on our already unique offerings at IGS and give students experiences they couldn’t get anywhere else”.

For the first time, Writing the Island included the West Coast. It is exciting for the School to witness the SAGE program developing each year, and the extraordinary calibre of the School’s staff who lead our students on these journeys and out into the world.

“Our goal is to have IGS in as many different places as possible, creating, imaging, discovering and designing all across Tasmania,” said Mr Patulny.