Science Meets Culture in New Zealand
Man’s Voice: Now we don’t want to destroy the dunes to come here and plant trees to save the dunes, right? So when we go up here we want to
We’re in the Bay of Plenty on the North Island of New Zealand, where a group of American university students are working with Maori elementary school students to help restore coastal dunes. During the course of the project, everyone learned as much about cultural exchange as they did about science. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
Blanc: The purpose of the is project was to give the university students an opportunity to learn about a community organization that was focused on environmental restoration, but also educational outreach with a local school.
The project team leader is Lori Blanc, a research scientist in the department of biological sciences at Virginia Tech.
Blanc: What we are doing is helping an organization restore the coastal dunes by getting the school kids out on the beach with us, teaching them about native plants and the importance of these plants in stabilizing the dunes. And then showing the children how to actually take the plants out of the container and put fertilizer in, and get them out there planting the plants in their own backyard. And that way, every time these kids come out onto the beach, they have a sense of connection to and ownership of the dunes, and will want to protect it down the road.
Girls Voice: “I planted six plants, and this is going to be our seventh..”
Blanc: So they spent the morning bonding with each other, learning about each other, learning about the kids’ school work, project work in school. Going out experiencing this hands on project, and then at the end they sang one of their traditional Mauri songs for us which was phenomenal.
ambience: Maori Song; young voices
I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.