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Marshall Laing School - James Robertson

2015 | Kauri – Saving Aotearoa’s gentle giants

SchoolMarshall Laing School

HostAuckland City Council, Environment Services

Region: Auckland

James Robertson is a teacher at Marshall Laing Primary School in Mt. Roskill. He has been privileged to work alongside arborists, conservationists, ecologists, educators, mana whenua, microbiologists and plant pathologists for the Auckland Council on the urgent biosecurity issue of kauri dieback. Kauri dieback is threatening our native kauri forests in the Waitakere Ranges, parts of Northland and the Coromandel.

He has spent an equal amount of time tramping in the bush, on the computer crunching social science survey data, and attending lectures and symposia. As well as this he has been busy getting his head round the complex scientific issue of kauri dieback with its many dimensions beyond just environmental science involving ethics, values, economics, politics and socio-cultural implications.

He has a far greater appreciation and respect for how scientists work in their chosen vocation. He has been inspired by the level of dedication and passion they show and has really enjoyed the discipline, rigor and creative problem-solving involved in working scientifically.

He has, however, really missed his students, colleagues and school community and is really enthused about getting back in the classroom with some extra science expertise and some rich experiences to draw and teach from. On his return to school he looks forward to sharing a broader understanding of the nature of science and refocusing on the science capabilities. Along with a new appreciation of the importance of networking, both in collaborating with experts but also with networked knowledge and the importance of generating and applying findings for a real purpose. He is excited by the concept of citizen or participatory science and hopes to combine this ethos with emergent technologies for great student outcomes, thus getting students to engage with both nature and science!