Marine Metre Squared citizen science workshop
Marine Metre Squared is a nationwide citizen science project that supports and involves communities in the monitoring of their local seashore. The project has been designed to provide meaningful and valid environmental baseline data on the state of seashores around New Zealand. It will not only enable participants to take a snapshot of seashore biodiversity, but also form a baseline that future change may be measured against.
These workshops have provided a fantastic opportunity for Kāpiti schools to explore our local marine environment. The simple tools required and the educational resources provided to facilitate participation in this project make it easy to involve students in meaningful learning experiences.
Sally Carson, Director of the Marine Metre Squared project, recently facilitated workshops in Porirua and Kāpiti. These were supported by various local environmental educators including DoC, Enviroschools, Guardians of Kāpiti Marine Reserve, Mountains to Sea and Porirua Harbour Trust. Teachers, students and community group representatives were invited to participate in an introductory workshop that involved exploring and gathering data in the local marine environment to load into the MM2 database.
Paraparaumu Beach School recently ran the MM2 workshops, which tied in perfectly with their Te Moana unit. Six classes took part, and teacher Shelley Evans said it was fantastic to tap into Sally's vast expertise in marine biology in such a fun and interactive way. The students were totally engaged in the hands-on activities and are still talking about what they learnt. Particular highlights included looking at the different crab skins and then trying to guess what one was the female and which one was the male, and looking at rock pools and discovering new creatures such as anemone. Student Sarah S said that the whole class learnt a lot and she is now ‘in love with the ocean’,
Sally Carson was commended as a fabulous presenter, sharing her passion and expertise of the marine environment in an inspiring and motivating way. She is the co-author of a recent publication The Collins Field Guide to the NZ Seashore, filled with wonderful photographs and information about the habitat and behaviour of New Zealand's intertidal plants and animals.
Marine Metre Squared is an easy way for anyone to survey the plants and animals living on their local seashore. The NZ Marine Studies Centre, University of Otago, is encouraging everyone to participate in long term monitoring of their marine environment. Anyone can take part – individuals, families, schools and community groups.
The aims of the Marine Metre Squared project are for participants to: