Horizons Regional Council rewarded three Palmerston North and one Whanganui student with a hands-on internship day to learn about land management and water quality this week.
Jake Rayner of Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School, Gabriel Maclean of Cornerstone Christian School, Georgia Tindle of Ross Intermediate and Sophie Bedwell of Whanganui Intermediate were recently part of the Manawatu Science and Technology Fair and Whanganui Regional Science Fair.
Horizons natural resources and partnership manager Dr Jon Roygard was a special judge at the Manawatu event in August and was very pleased to present the three students with a highly commended award and the offer to join Horizons’ staff for a day.
"I was really impressed with the standard of all the projects at the Manawatu Science and Technology Fair," says Dr Roygard.
"Students who completed high quality projects that aligned with Horizons’ business were invited to join our staff for an internship day. The day was designed to give students the chance to extend and apply their project research in an applicable way."
Dr Roygard says Jake and Gabriel both created projects around soil erosion, while Georgia’s study focused on water quality.
"We also offered the same prize to Sophie whose water quality project we read about in the paper following the Whanganui Regional Science Fair. Of the six invitations handed out, four made it for the day which is great.
"We hope the experience inspires them to explore environmental science as a career option in the future."
Horizons environmental educator Sarah Galley pulled together a comprehensive day of activities for the students.
"As the students’ projects focused on erosion and water quality we spent the day with our land management staff visiting sites in the Pohangina catchment to demonstrate the link between soil loss and sediment entering our waterways. This included erosion sites, planting sites that aim to address erosion issues and water quality testing in the same catchment," says Ms Galley.
"We wanted the students to understand how their areas of study can relate to other environmental issues and think about the bigger picture. They are the future of conservation and hopefully the day inspired them to keep up their science curiosity."
Jake Rayner said he learnt a lot of new information about managing erosion and test water quality on the day.
"I knew that trees helped with erosion but I thought that was through acting as a barrier as soil slipped down the hill. I didn’t realise it was the roots that helped soil stay in place but I do now."