Sat, May 27, 2023 7:00 AM

Nayland students get hands-on with marine science


Kate Russell

Hundreds of budding scientists from Nayland College got a hands-on lesson like no other on Monday.

A group of Cawthron scientists spent the day at the school, taking a series of three activities with all Year 9 students to introduce them to the concepts and tools that are used in marine biosecurity.

These have been developed as part of the Marine Biosecurity Toolbox which Nayland science teacher Gerd Banke worked on during her time at Cawthron last year on a teacher leadership programme.

On Monday, the scientists offered a glimpse into marine pest observations, pipette handling, and cutting-edge molecular detection of invasive algae.

Each class got 75 minutes of hands-on learning.

Gerd says she hopes the workshops will help inspire the next generation of budding scientists in Nelson.

“Some of these kids are looking for pathways, so getting that inspiration and seeing what scientists are doing is really meaningful.

“This is a great way of building scientific literacy as well as engaging them in science at a young age.”

The Marine Biosecurity Toolbox is a five-year, government-funded research programme, aimed at protecting New Zealand’s marine environment from the impacts on non-indigenous species.

Several Cawthron scientists are involved in the programme, including Dr Xavier Pochon who co-leads the detect research stream.

He’s a strong advocate of education outreach, describing it as an integral part of any cutting-edge research.

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