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Cockle Bay School – Gillian Taylor

2017 | Watch out! What’s out there!

SchoolCockle Bay School

HostWildland Consultants


Cockle Bay School believes that science needs to be engaging, practical and relevant, driven by student interests. It’s aim is to engage students in science and develop students’ 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. The school is currently in the process of developing  STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) sessions which will foster problem solving and creativity through hands-on experiences. Upon returning to Cockle Bay, Gillian will be able to use the leadership skills and knowledge gained from the Science Teaching Leadership Programme to help raise the profile of the Nature of Science strand from the New Zealand curriculum.

Gillian has been teaching for 15 years, the last 6 years spent at Cockle Bay School in Howick, Auckland.  She has taught in both Year 1 and 3. Over the last three years, she has undertaken considerable professional development in primary science teaching. She believes that science is an ideal learning area to help motivate and enthuse students about their learning. She is passionate about using a science lens to help students learn about their world. Gillian aims to gain an increased understanding of how she can provide a science programme with exciting authentic learning experiences. She hopes her participation in the Science Teacher Leadership Programme will provide opportunities to gain an increased understanding of how science in the real world can be linked to the Nature of Science strand and incorporated into her school  planning.

During her time with Wildlands, Gillian has assisted in many aspects of ecology including, ecological management of flora and fauna at development sites and lizard monitoring to detect species presence and distribution using Artificial Cover Objects. Taking part in spotlighting in the evenings was a particular highlight. This involved using high powered torches to methodically search for the presence of geckos in a reserve in her local community.  She has observed Bat monitoring using a thermal imaging camera and has assisted with the capture and translocation of indigenous fauna at construction sites (fish, koura, lizards). Gillian has also assisted with ecological assessment of streams and dune lakes in the Auckland area and she has gained experience in analysing ecological data.

Throughout these experiences Gillian 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. These experiences have provided her with not only an increased understanding of ecological restoration and management in Aotearoa and also the importance of Kaitiakitanga of our unique flora and fauna, especially in light of the vast development occurring throughout Aotearoa. She has enjoyed all of these experiences. They provided real world experiences of science and offered opportunities to gain an understanding of how scientists work in the field.

Gillian is eager to share her new love of ecology with the students at Cockle Bay school to help foster students’ curiosity and wonder of science. In Phase 2 of the Science Teaching Leadership Programme, Gillian is looking forward to supporting her colleagues as they begin the process of focusing more on the Nature of Science strand in the school’s science programme.

Gillian is very grateful to Nick Ranger 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 her school  for this wonderful opportunity.