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Service Areas: Engagement & Education, Science Communication

EOS Ecology’s Nature Agents programme is all about engaging young people and community with their local stream and with real science. With funding from the Ministry of Education, Nature Agents is an EOS Ecology ‘Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom’ (LEOTC) programme that is fully funded for school years 3–8. With a full set of learning resources, a field session with our scientists to teach students and teachers how to monitor their stream, a full stream survey field kit, follow-up classroom support, and further teacher training sessions, Nature Agents is a fully supported programme for schools. Nature Agents is also suitable for any community group wanting to collect long-term data and improve awareness for their local waterway.

Nature Agents teaches people to monitor water quality, stream habitat and invertebrates in their local waterway, so that they can continue to gather long-term data on their local stream. The programme was developed in such a way that the monitoring methods are comparable to scientific methods of measuring stream condition. This means that not only do participants gain a better understanding of their environment, but they also get to experience what it is like to collect information in a scientific way, and their data can be used more widely.

Find out more about our Nature Agents programme and who is already involved by going to our Nature Agents website.

Nature Agents
Nature Agents
Nature Agents engages students with real science and inspires them about their local environment. grey-BR

Service Areas: Engagement & Education, Science Communication

Environment Investigators is an inanga/whitebait education programme developed and implemented by EOS Ecology for Whitebait Connection Canterbury. In our first year 1,400 students from 16 schools/pre-schools participated in the hands-on learning and scientific investigations revolving around inanga, the main whitebait species found in the Christchurch waterways.

Our inhouse Whitebait Connection Coordinators engaged students on a journey which included classroom presentations, teaching resources, field investigations and caring for inanga in classroom fish tanks. The syllabus included life cycle, habitat, threats to the species and what the students can do to help inanga flourish.

The programme culminated with students releasing their classroom-raised fish at an Inanga Celebration Day. This fun day included games, a sausage sizzle and an official releasing of their inanga back to the river. They also took action on behalf of their rivers – producing fliers to post around their neighbourhood (about the detrimental effects of rubbish, leaf litter and dog poo), door knocking and interviewing residents (about their thoughts on the Council mowing down the inanga habitat on the river banks during spawning season), and subsequently presenting their findings on poor state of inanga spawning habitat to both the Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury.

2016 Programme Summary

Inanga Celebration Day - Nick releasing the inanga
Inanga Celebration Day – Nick releasing the inanga raised by students (in an aquarium in their classroom) back into the wilds of the Heathcote River. grey-BR

Service Areas: Engagement & Education, Science Communication

We joined forces with UC to develop the content, design and produce a full education syllabus for Whitebait Connection. Funded by Curious Minds - Whitebait Connection worked together with us to produce print and Powerpoint based educational resources which tell the fascinating story of inanga. Covering their life cycle, habitats, how/where they spawn and, ultimately, how we can help them survive.

It was especially challenging as the target audience range was, well, everybody. This led to a range of infographics being developed and the use of icons to help tell stories without some of the bigger words needing to be read. The whole syllabus was designed to fit with the existing Whitebait Connection brand, so is instantly identifiable as one of their resources.

National Inanga Spawning Education Programme
A bespoke Powerpoint presentation and ten handout resources were developed for the NISP programme. grey-BR

Service Areas: Engagement & Education, Science Communication

Whaka īnaka was about connecting with the community to effect long-term positive change for whitebait. Local iwi and community were directly involved in the project, helping with bale installation & removal days, while also committed to returning regularly during the spawning season to assist with monthly egg counts at the 34 bale sites (that's 204 wheat straw bales).

The development of a project 'brand' which was applied to all communication materials, creation of installation panels at riverside bale sites, a Facebook page, and attendance at four public events, widened the reach of the project to include a sense of stewardship by locals. Project volunteers involved in the monthly egg counts were pleased by the level of interest from the local community. "I was so surprised at how protective the neighbourhoods were with the bales - every time we were out there working, local people came and asked questions about the project," said Sarah, a Whaka Īnaka volunteer.

Click here to find out more about this project.

Whaka Inaka
Kirsty showing students from Te Whanau Tahi School how we monitor our bales. grey-BR

Service Areas: Engagement & Education, Science Communication

The 'Pest Monitoring Module' was designed to engage schools with the Whaka Īnaka : Causing Whitebait project through a focus on monitoring pest and dog poo activity at the project sites. The module was a real science programme - created not only to offer experiential learning for students at 16 Christchurch schools, but to also result in the collation of real data. Each school visited the sites on a roster basis, checked their pest detector cards to identify the presence of pests, noted any dog poo found nearby, then uploaded their findings to an online map-based database.

The programme, supported by Whitebait Connection and the Rata Foundation, was welcomed by schools as it fitted well within the Ministry of Education's Environmental Education for Sustainability curriculum. Outputs included student driven blogs, videos, class presentations, artwork and fliers distributed around their local community. The data led to the development of a technical report card.

Pest Module Report Card

Whaka Inaka Pest Monitoring
Kirsty helping Waitakiri Primary School students with their pest monitoring. grey-BR

Service Areas: Engagement & Education, Science Communication

Banks Peninsula streams are home to some unique invertebrates, but like many of our streams, are under pressure from land use. In a bid to improve knowledge and engagement of local communities with their streams, we developed a Banks Peninsula Freshwater Invertebrate Identification Chart (funded by Brian Mason Trust) to make it easy for people to identify exactly what biota is living in their streams, and help ensure their future preservation.

The chart includes all key freshwater invertebrate groups found in New Zealand streams, and points out which ones are unique to Banks Peninsula. The drawings were produced in-house and designed to focus on specific identifying features for easy ID. The ID decisions are presented in an easy-to-follow flow chart format. The charts are available as A0 wall charts, and as 'field-ready' A3 waterproof charts. Distribution has been through Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust, Banks Peninsula Zone Committee, and local schools.

Download the Banks Peninsula Freshwater Invertebrate ID Chart

Banks Peninsula Invertebrate ID Chart
The identification chart is also suitable for use throughout New Zealand's waterways. grey-BR

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