Wellington BEANZ Workshop
On the 24th of November, 65 biology teachers from the Wellington region gathered at ZEALANDIA for the Biology Educators Association of New Zealand (BEANZ) Workshop. The event provided a forum for teachers to build connections, share resources and insights, discuss the direction of the curriculum and hear from educators and scientists working in and around ZEALANDIA.
The morning saw the Pāteke Room become a bustling laboratory under the command of the exuberant Tony Cairns (Wellington High School) who donned a pink wig and a shimmering lab-coat. Teachers were assigned experiments involving beautiful bioluminescent bacteria (provided by brightenz). Such bacteria have lit up classroom petri-dishes and left students positively glowing.
A series of presentations followed. Sue Lum from ZEALANDIA's Education Team discussed the value of the valley in teaching virtually every facet of biology, our ongoing Youth Ambassador programme, and how particular developments are providing unique opportunities for learning - the possibility of Takahē chicks being a case in point.
Three scientists (Associate Prof. Nicola Nelson, Dr. Rachael Shaw & Dr. Danielle Shanahan) presented recent developments in their field of study, from tuatara and climate change to the natural world and mental health. The scientists were then subjected to a quickfire round of big-picture talking-points. The questions went right to the core of Zealandia's vision and bountiful discussion sprung forth.
The success of our 500-year vision relies on the passion and ability of our future generations. Teachers and educators, working both in the sanctuary and out in the community are crucial agents in the long-term viability of the valley's restoration. Events such as the BEANZ workshop further equip our region's educators to pass on down our taonga tuku iho - the valley, the knowledge and the passion to see our kaupapa through.