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Wakari School - Andrea Benwell

2015 | Will your shore become Otago’s first marine reserve?

SchoolWakari School

HostNew Zealand Marine Studies Centre, University of Otago

Region: Otago

Andrea Benwell, who has 15 years teaching experience, found her passion for science and engaging children in science through her first teaching position as an Education Officer at the Otago Museum.

Andrea was hosted by the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre (Department of Marine Science, University of Otago). She participated in, and helped to further develophe nationwide Marine Metre Squared (Mm2) Citizen Science project, an initiative for long-term monitoring of the New Zealand seashore. Students, families, community groups and individuals are encouraged to explore their local shoreline and collect valuable scientific information that will help build a picture of the distribution and abundance of New Zealand’s intertidal species. They are also encouraged to use this information to write a recommendation detailing where in Otago the first marine reserve should located.

During Andrea’s time at the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre, she was fortunate enough to experience a diverse and rich range of learning opportunities such as:

  • Field trips to local Dunedin and Auckland shorelines to assist with Marine Metre Squared Surveys and species identification and collection of water and specimen samples;
  • Assisting scientists in a laboratory to grow photoplankton cultures, recalibrate electronic PH scales and trial an ocean acidification experiment;
  • Attending various lectures/ talks concerned with Marine Science;
  • Participating in and observing shark and squid dissections;
  • Participating in and observing education programmes; and
  • Assisting in food collection and feeding of the Aquarium’s seahorses.

Andrea would like to extend a big thank you to her host, Sally Calson for her guidance, assistance and introduction to staff, science collegues and students. She is most grateful and appreciative of all the staff at the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre who generously shared their time, expertise and enthusiasm.  She warmly acknowledges the Royal Scoitey of New Zealand for all their advice and support.

Participating in the Science Teacher Leadership Programme has been a truly amazing and life changing experience for Andrea.