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Aorere College - Aidan Kiely

2021 | Investigating Kauri Dieback Control and Outreach

School: Aorere College

Region: Auckland

Host: Auckland Council  

Aorere College believes that they will benefit from their participation in the Science Teaching Leadership Programme as it will enable their school to connect with experts in Plant Pathogen Management and Sustainability Education from Auckland Council. Establishing these connections will support the Science Department as it embarks on an ambitious curriculum update to support local contexts for learning.

Aorere College aims to increase the retention of Māori and Pasifika in senior sciences, therefore allowing more students an opportunity to pursue a science related career. The science teaching team at Aorere College have been actively working on improving their teaching programmes for year 9-13 students, learning to embed authentic local contexts into their teaching programmes and engaging with mana whenua to improve their teaching practice and understanding of Mātauranga. One project they have been working on is the adoption of a local awa and the restoration of its mauri. The team look forward to working with Aidan, upon his return to school, to further develop their understanding and teaching of the Nature of Science and sustainability in their local context.

Aidan has taught for six years and is passionate about expanding opportunities for his students both within and outside of the classroom with a view to improving the equity in outcomes for his students. He successfully brings experts from outside of school to work on projects with his students, from placing sensors in beehives to investigating myrtle rust, which seek to engage his students in science in the real world.

Aidan is being hosted by the Kauri Dieback and Sustainable School Teams within Auckland Council and will work alongside them on a number of Natural Environment Targeted Rate delivery and conservation projects which will enable him to experience applied science in an operational management context. He will contribute to a number of treatment and research projects, social science initiatives and kauri dieback mitigation projects that are currently in-flight and span the full lifecycle of project delivery. This will include analysing results from the recent Waitakere Ranges Kauri Dieback Survey alongside mana whenua, epidemiologists and statisticians; assisting with field trials and testing of kauri dieback odour recognition dogs in preparation for deployment and working with the kauri dieback team to undertake quality assurance auditing of track infrastructure to ensure it is meeting our biosecurity criteria and aligns with national kauri dieback specifications. Aidan will also work alongside kauri dieback specialist advisors who are regularly engaging with schools and are seeking to develop innovative resources and programmes that connect with rangatahi.  Aidan will also link this with the work of the Sustainable Schools team and how the Nature of Science can be implemented in action for students through education for sustainability and the relevance for a range of job opportunities.

On completion of this project, Aidan hopes to have an understanding of the breadth of work that goes into protecting our taonga species and developed field skills from monitoring and surveillance through to auditing.