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Auckland Girls' Grammar School - Ashika Prasad

2017 | Can you handle the truth?

School: Auckland Girls Grammar School

Host: Wildland Consultants

Region: Auckland

Auckland Girls Grammar School science department has implemented a new curriculum in Year 9, which we plan on extending into year 10. Our vision for our junior curriculum is that science needs to be engaging, practical and relevant, and driven by student interests. The Junior course is aimed at engaging students in science and developing their knowledge of how scientists work so they can think critically about science and are able to participate in a society where science plays a significant role.

Ashika is a senior Science/Biology Teacher from Auckland Girls Grammar School. She has been teaching in New Zealand for the last 16 years. She will be able to use the leadership skills and knowledge gained from the Science Teaching Leadership Programme to embed the Science Capabilities and Nature of Science into junior curriculum especially in Year 10. We believe this is the core of a 21st Century science learning programme and requires a big shift in our thinking and like any change, it also needs shared leadership.

The team at Wildland Consultants, Auckland, kindly hosted Ashika for Terms 3 and 4, 2017. Ashika has helped carry out key projects involving ecological survey and monitoring; ecological management of flora and fauna at development sites, management of ecological data and collation of ecological literature. During this programme, she has worked alongside experienced ecologists with a broad range of specialist skills (i.e. botany, restoration ecology, lizards, bats, birds, aquatic habitats, and pest mammals). Most of the work has been based in the Auckland Region, however; she has been extensively involved in field surveys and report writing about the Northland mudfish. 

Ashika has built up a number of networks with local environmental community groups and investigated opportunities for school and community involvement with the restoration of a local domain. The first project she plans to start with the help from her contacts at Wildlands is to support the predator free Ponsonby project. The goal is that her students get exposed to citizen science projects and grow into scientifically literate adults.

Overall, the experiences have provided her with not only an increased understanding of ecological restoration and management in Aotearoa but also the importance of Kaitiakitanga of our unique flora and fauna, especially in light of the vast development occurring throughout Aotearoa.

Ashika is very grateful to Nick Ranger, Dr. Tim Martin and other staff at Wildlands Consultants for the many opportunities provided to engage with ecology. She would like to thank the Wildlands team for sharing their valuable knowledge, expertise and time so freely with her. She would also like to thank the Royal Society Te Apārangi and Auckland Girl’s Grammar School for this wonderful opportunity