Findings to be shared at open day


Dunedin school pupils involved in this year’s research project at Tomahawk Lagoon will share their findings with the community during a ‘‘Show and Tell’’ day next Saturday. The public open day on November 26 will be the culmination of both the project and a series of ‘‘Spring Time Big Days Out’’ at Tomahawk Lagoon. Rain, hail or shine, pupils from Bayfield High School, John McGlashan College and Tahuna Intermediate have made fortnightly visits to the low-lying coastal wetland to monitor its biodiversity and water quality throughout this year.
The ongoing health of the lagoon, which is bordered by houses and farmland, is an important focus for Dunedin group the Ecotago Trust. Since early 2016, Ecotago scientists Andrew Innes and Dr Jonathan Kim have been working with the school pupils on the monitoring project, measuring everything from the weather to wildlife numbers and the amounts of nitrogen and phosphate in the water. The project is funded through a grant from the Participatory Science Platform (PSP), which is designed to encourage communities, particularly young people, educators and scientists, to work together on science projects. Mr Innes said the community open day, which would run from 10am-12.30pm, would give the young people the opportunity to tell the story of the life of Tomahawk Lagoon. All interested people are welcome to come along. ‘‘Hopefully, learning about our findings might help inspire local residents to help out with further research and monitoring,’’ Mr Innes said. The scientists and pupils would hold data collection and analysis sessions next week and on the Saturday, the pupils would demonstrate and discuss their collection techniques and reveal their results.
‘‘Looking at the data we have gathered, we believe we will be able to draw some useful conclusions,’’ Mr Innes said. It was hoped the project would be able to continue next year. Mr Innes said there had been a ‘‘positive response’’ from the PSP about the work. ‘‘We believe this is valuable research on a vital coastal wetland,’’ he said.