School kids to unearth ‘hidden worlds’ at science camp

School students from Pahiatua and Dannevirke will soon get a glimpse into the fascinating geology of the Lower North Island with expert scientists during a two-week science camp run by GNS Science.

The ‘Discover Hidden Worlds’ GeoCamp 2019 is a field-based learning experience for local year 7-9 students and their teachers running from 6 – 17 May.

GeoCamp 2019 will give kids the opportunity to learn from scientists about the geological forces that have shaped New Zealand, with a focus on the Wairarapa and Tararua regions.

Field trips to local geologically significant sites such as Foxton Beach and Woodville Ferry Reserve will give the kids hands-on experience looking at fossils, fault lines and sea-level rise.

The camp also provides professional development for teachers, who are encouraged to continue similar initiatives back in their schools.

GeoCamp 2019 co-leader Kyle Bland, a geologist at GNS Science, says the aim is to make the students excited about science.

“We encourage the kids to believe that anyone can be a scientist. You don’t have to be a professional scientist to discover more about the world or do science,” says Dr Bland.

“We will be showing the kids that every rock tells a story about how our environment has been formed and how it will change in the future. GeoCamp is really unique because it allows the kids to go out into nature and make these discoveries for themselves.”

As part of the GeoCamp, the public are invited to an end of camp science expo at Church Hall, Bush Community Centre on 18 May where students will showcase their discoveries. The expo will be open between 9:30am and 12:30pm.

“By showing what they have discovered to the community, the students take ownership of their learning experiences. The students become the communicators and educators as they share what they’ve learned with the public,” says Dr Bland.

The GeoCamp programme received the Deloitte Energy Excellence award for “Community Initiative of the Year” in 2017.

GeoCamp 2019 is free for students and teachers to attend and is made possible by the financial sponsorship of Chevron, OMV, Equinor, REAP Wairarapa and GNS Science (via MBIE funding).