Communicating science -Manawatu and Wanganui

Manawatu students utilised animation technology to raise awareness to their peers of the value of our rivers. Organising a school assembly before Ngati Kauwhata iwi leaders Dennis Emery, Horizons Council Freshwater coordinator Lucy Ferguson, Principals, staff and full student roll of 62; youth provided a range of presentations designed to communicate the science behind their learning about river quality health and assessment.

Making sense of scientific information is not easy and as rangatahi grappled with scientific literacy and jargon, the PTC program equipped with them with a range of animation skills in bringing their stories and experiences to life. Animation can come in handy as a means of telling stories about science or scientists. Students can begin exploring a topic, conveying key points that held meaning to them as learners. Moreover it can be enjoyable.

One of the highlights for the students was in hearing that iwi leader Dennis Emery showed their animations at various hui before iwi and hapu. Mr Emery reminded students that the Manawatū River Leaders' Forum signed an Accord to take action to improve the state of the Manawatū River. This goal represents a community opportunity to develop leadership in catchment improvement and capture the social and economic benefits of such leadership. Rangatahi have a vital role to play in enabling this vision to be realised.

Wanganui students also attempted to capture their experiences of river engagement through animations.  Teams utilised their school facebook site to publish their work amassing  over 500 views when all 4 animations were published. With a total following of 1845 the emphasis was to raise awareness to as wide an audience as possible. This message was very significant given that in March 2017, the college closed because a gastro bug has swept through the school. A notice from the school posted on their Facebook relayed that "a huge number of staff" were away due to a "gastro bug of some sort". As the students participated in PTC's Victoria University's microbial labs they learnt from expert scientists of the nature of bacterial contamination; its impact and courses of action.  This school-wide issue became an opportunity in which diverse student teams representative of Maori, Pasifika, International and Pakeha worked together to raise awareness and recommend actions.