Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Week Three at Zealandia

It’s been another wonderful week at Zealandia.
Having spent a few days watching the robins and following certain ones in particular I’m beginning to pick up on their behaviours and what they mean.  It’s been interesting to watch the parents looking after their fledglings and the interactions that go on and change as the fledgling gets older.  They are territorial and so eventually the young robin gets kicked out of the territory and so has to go and find their own. Once they find a mate they pair up and share a territory, they both look after their young, usually taking one each to look after and feed, then once the young move on, the parents go back to their own territories but will usually meet up the following season to mate together again.
One of the very friendly robins!

Feeding a robin a mealworm

Working with Latu who is writing her thesis on the robins, it’s been great to hear how she goes about gathering her data.  What we teach the boys about fair testing, writing observations and repeat testing is exactly the same as what she does.  It has reinforced to me about what we do when we work like a scientist.  Hopefully at school we can start to integrate using our technology such as tablets and cameras in our data gathering.

Latu using her video camera to record behaviour. 

Today one of the other STLP's (Science Teaching Leadership Programme) came to visit from Taranaki. Shakira is based at Rotokare Scenic Reserve. It was great to show her around and we got to share our experiences as her's is also a fenced sanctuary. Once again it was another beautiful day in Wellington, perfect for walking around the valley. She loved seeing the Kaka and we even managed to spot a couple of the new, recently released skinks.

There’s so much going on here and I’ve barely scratched the surface.  I’m looking forward to the annual mice audit and tracking what’s actually out there along, helping to feed the tuatara and geckos that are in the display areas (they get fed locusts every couple of weeks!) and all the other interesting things that are going on.

A rather large weta I found (dead thankfully!)

Porokaiwhiri / pigeonwood
slightly oval orange-red berries found on female tree attractive to kereru

Neil, our tour guide today

US students getting up close to a tuatara

Someone spotted a tuatara!

One of the two takahe who have retired here.

Busy at work!

Monday, 15 February 2016

Science Teaching Leadership Programme

It's been a busy but amazing two weeks.
I'm really fortunate to be out of school for two terms as part of the Royal Society Science Teaching and Leadership Programme.  Basically it gives me an opportunity to experience real science, develop my leadership skills and curriculum knowledge and have the time to think about the sort of science programme we would like to have at school.

I am being hosted by Zealandia, an incredible fenced ecosanctuary just ten minutes from Wellington city.

Please continue to check back as I intend to make regular updates about all of my different experiences.
My first day was spent going for a day walk, I walked almost the length of the valley and wandered up to the Brooklyn wind turbine, then back down a different track, along the Fault Line track and back.  It was wonderful.  I even got a huge fright as tuatara scuttled across the track in front of me!