Student Scientists Test Local Waters

Earlier this year, the Ruamahanga Restoration Trust sponsored the House of Science Wairarapa Water Analysis kit, which has since been put to great use.

The Water Analysis kit has been extremely popular and since it and has been rotated around seven different schools with many of those schools using the kit for more than one week.

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By using the Water Analysis science kit, students can determine how healthy their local stream or river is through measuring pH, turbidity, nitrate levels and flow. The kit also includes invertebrate guides and how to use these as ecological indicators of environmental health. In addition, schools classes can choose to monitor streams or rivers over a period of time to assess water quality changes.

Pirinoa School Teacher Nat Lagah led his classroom to their water testing site on Palliser Ridge station where according to Nat the kids had so much fun finding some cool things, “even freshwater crayfish,” he told us.

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Nat described how he took the students to a point on the farm overlooking a dry stream where they plan to undertake restoration planting and water testing over the next two years. The school plans to take a photo from this same spot each term, to track the growth and changes to the landscape – not to mention the changes in the kids over time!

"It was awesome seeing the kids apply their science knowledge to a real world situation and they're pumped to track this stuff," said Nat.

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The manager of the nearby Palliser Ridge farm helped with the pH testing, explaining what it all means and why clean water is so important to the biodiversity of the area. Nat told us they ended up spending two hours "paddling and fishing and data collecting,” adding that it was a "fantastic opportunity to use this kit on one of the farms, and to benefit one of the farms too. The data we collected will be used for their work as well."

Rrt Hos Pirinoa 2021 3Great field work from all the participating students at Pirinoa School!

The Ruamahanga Restoration Trust looks forward to following the scientific progress at Palliser Ridge and to continue supporting House of Science Wairarapa by encouraging younger generations to develop a genuine interest in science as a means to help solve greater environmental issues affecting our communities and our planet in their not too distant future.

South Featherston School also used the testing kits. In feedback to the House of Science Wairarapa, they said, “the students were completely engaged in all the water analysis activities and had such a rich learning experience. We used the kit to understand more about the stream behind our school and it was amazing to explore and analyse the ecosystem there."

Photos courtesy: Nat Lagah, Pirinoa School, South Wairarapa

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